Sunday, November 9, 2008

URGENT ALERT: Israeli gunboats firing on fishing boat (Update 11am)

To view original report on the Free Gaza Movement website click here

Greta Berlin just emailed this from Cyprus. She is on the satellite phone with David Schermerhorn. He is out fishing with Vik, Nicos and the Palestinians. They were attacked from the moment they passed the 6-mile limit. Water cannons and machine gun fire into the water. At 9:29, he called me again. The gunboat has come within 50 feet of the fishing boat and has cut across where the nets are.

Vik is yelling at the Israeli gunboat, telling them that three internationals are on board and they are all unarmed and they just want to go fishing. The pleas were met by water cannon so strong that all of the people on board went into the cabin for protection. David is trying to get water samples to bring back and have analyzed.

The connection is very difficult to understand, but I can hear Vik in the background and hear the machine gun fire and the water hitting the wheelhouse. They are trying to break the windows in the wheelhouse. Another fishing boat about 100 yards off is also being attacked. He then yelled in the phone that the boat was being hit by water from the front, that the Israeli gunboat is trying to actually break up the boat.

The connection just broke. Please put whatever pressure on that you can ...
At 10:53 an Israeli gunboat is off the port side of the fishing boat getting ready to spray dirty water on the crew and the fish. The crew is trying to raise the nets and the fish inside. The Israeli military on board the gunboat have masks on before they spray the boat, an indication that the water is going to be dirty.

The way point of the boat is .021 as the fishermen frantically try to raise their nets. The larger gunboat with the water cannon mounted on it has gone around to the winward side of the fishing boat, where they always shoot the water cannon. It is 50 yards off and preparing to fire as the nets are being hauled in as fast as the crew can work. As David is talking at 11:05, gunboat started to fire dirty water, attacking the crew and the fish. Nicos has collected the water in a sample jar and will bring it back for analysis. They are trying to ruin the catch.
Update: 11:23 The large gunboat has dropped back after spraying the crew with dirty water. The crew dropped the fish back into the sea to protect them and they were not hit. David said that the military men on the gunboat were wearing hazmat suits and masks, an indication of how dangerous the water must be. Everyone on board was hit, but no fish were ruined.