UPDATE 2 – Israel intercepts Gaza flotilla; Palestinians injured

UPDATES INJURY TOLL

By Hidaya al-Saedi and Hani al-Shaer

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least 49 Palestinians were injured when the Israeli navy targeted a 20-vessel flotilla that set out Monday from the northern Gaza Strip in hopes of breaking the decade-long blockade of the coastal enclave.

The people were wounded by gunfire and suffocation by gas bombs, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement.

Some 10 wounded have been transferred to hospitals for treatment, the ministry added.

Eye witnesses told Anadolu Agency the injured included Atiyyeh Hijazi, a journalist who works for Iran's Al-Alam television channel.

Once the flotilla — the seventh of its kind — reached Gaza’s maritime border, Israeli navy opened intense fire on it.

For the last 11 years, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade that has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since March 30, Palestinians in Gaza have been holding regular demonstrations against the blockade near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone.

Since the rallies kicked off more than five months ago, over 170 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops deployed along the buffer zone.

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UPDATE – Israel intercepts Gaza flotilla; 4 Palestinians injured

UPDATES WITH ADDITIONAL DETAIL, BACKGROUND

By Hidaya al-Saedi and Hani al-Shaer

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least four Palestinians were injured when the Israeli navy opened fire on a 20-vessel flotilla that set out Monday from the northern Gaza Strip in hopes of breaking the decade-long blockade of the coastal enclave.

Once the flotilla reached Gaza’s maritime border, four Palestinians — including one journalist — were injured by intense Israeli navy gunfire, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency.

The injured journalist was later identified as Atiyyeh Hijazi, who works for Iran’s Al-Alam television channel.

For the last 11 years, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade that has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities.

Since March 30, Palestinians in Gaza have been holding regular demonstrations against the blockade near the Gaza-Israel buffer zone.

Since the rallies kicked off more than five months ago, over 170 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops deployed along the buffer zone.

Israel intercepts Gaza flotilla; 4 Palestinians injured

By Hidaya al-Saedi and Hani al-Shaer

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – At least four Palestinians were injured Monday when the Israeli navy opened fire on a number of vessels that set out from the northern Gaza Strip with a view to breaking Israel’s ongoing blockade of the coastal enclave.

Four Palestinians, including one journalist, were injured by intense Israeli navy gunfire, while a number of others suffered the effects of teargas and gas bombs, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency.

Japan says spots Chinese vessels near disputed islands

TOKYO (AA) – Japan’s coast guard said Saturday that four Chinese ships were spotted near disputed islands in the East China Sea, a move that has previously drawn protests from Tokyo.

Local news agency Kyodo reported that the Chinese coast guard vessels were seen in the morning in waters claimed as Japanese territory, in a sighting that came after a previous “intrusion” Sunday.

The Senkakus — which Beijing calls the Diaoyu Islands — are a group of uninhabited islets currently controlled by Japan.

High-level dialogue between China and Japan was suspended for two years prior to a meeting in November 2014 between leaders due to tension following the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the disputed islands in September 2012.

In August, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida summoned the Chinese ambassador to demand that Beijing promptly withdraw its vessels from waters around the islands.

The move came after Japan’s coast guard was reported as saying that at one point it had spotted 13 Chinese government vessels in the contiguous zone just beyond Japanese waters around the Senkakus, and 15 such vessels were reported to have sailed in the zone.

Around 230 Chinese fishing boats were reported to have been spotted in the zone two days earlier, along with Chinese government vessels.

UPDATE – Indonesia sinks illegal vessels on Independence Day

UPDATES BACKGROUND

By Ainur Rohmah

TUBAN, Indonesia (AA) – Indonesia has marked its 71st Independence Day with the sinking of 63 foreign vessels accused of fishing illegally in its waters, bringing the number of ships destroyed under the policy to nearly 240 this year.

Comm. Arif Budi Winofa, North Maluku province’s maritime police director, was quoted by kompas.com as saying Wednesday, “the ships were not blown up because it can damage the environment, and the rubble will be strewn everywhere.”

The government of President Joko Widodo has declared war on illegal fishing, implementing a policy of sinking ships guilty of the practice, which reportedly costs the country billions in losses each year.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the maritime and fisheries minister said the vessels would be sunk in eight locations across the archipelago by punching holes in them so that the submerged wrecks could serve as artificial habitats for fish.

Despite an original plan to sink 71 vessels, Susi Pudjiastuti said action on some would have to be delayed as their legal processes were ongoing.

“There were 63 vessels [to be sunk], not 71,” she was quoted as saying without mentioning the ships’ countries of origin.

Pudjiastuti insisted that Indonesia, while avoiding “excessive” media coverage media — would continue its policy of sinking vessels found to engage in illegal practices, such as employing only foreign crew and using fake licenses, in order to protect the country’s resources.

On Wednesday, the minister attended Independence Day celebrations in the Natuna Islands, where a Chinese ship was recently seized on charges of illegal fishing in a case that drew protests from Beijing.

Meanwhile, amid holiday festivities across the archipelago, police arrested two men who allegedly tried to raise a Daesh flag on top of Mount Sumbing in Central Java province.

National police spokesman Comm. Martinus Sitompul was quoted by detik.com as saying, “there are two suspicious people. After being searched, an ISIS [Daesh] flag, toiletries and supplies were found on them.”

The country has been on alert against extremist activities over the past year, further heightening security measures after an attack in Jakarta left eight people — including four Daesh-affiliated assailants — dead in January.

Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands on Aug. 17, 1945 and citizens marks the annual holiday with a variety of various festivals countrywide.

Indonesia marks independence by sinking illegal vessels

By Ainur Rohmah

TUBAN, Indonesia (AA) – Indonesia has marked its 71st Independence Day with the sinking of 63 foreign vessels accused of fishing illegally in its waters, bringing the number of ships destroyed under the policy to nearly 240 this year.

Comm. Arif Budi Winofa, North Maluku province’s maritime police director, was quoted by kompas.com as saying Wednesday, “the ships were not blown up because it can damage the environment, and the rubble will be strewn everywhere.”

The government of President Joko Widodo has declared war on illegal fishing, implementing a policy of sinking ships guilty of the practice, which reportedly costs the country billions in losses each year.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the maritime and fisheries minister said the vessels would be sunk in eight locations across the archipelago by punching holes in them so that the submerged wrecks could serve as artificial habitats for fish.

Despite an original plan to sink 71 vessels, Susi Pudjiastuti said action on some would have to be delayed as their legal processes were ongoing.

“There were 63 vessels [to be sunk], not 71,” she was quoted as saying without mentioning the ships’ countries of origin.

Pudjiastuti insisted that Indonesia, while avoiding “excessive” media coverage media — would continue its policy of sinking vessels found to engage in illegal practices, such as employing only foreign crew and using fake licenses, in order to protect the country’s resources.

On Wednesday, the minister attended Independence Day celebrations in the Natuna Islands, where a Chinese ship was recently seized on charges of illegal fishing in a case that drew protests from Beijing.

Meanwhile, amid holiday festivities across the archipelago, police arrested two men who allegedly tried to raise a Daesh flag on top of Mount Sumbing in Central Java province.

National police spokesman Comm. Martinus Sitompul was quoted by detik.com as saying, “there are two suspicious people. After being searched, an ISIS [Daesh] flag, toiletries and supplies were found on them.”

Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands on Aug. 17, 1945 and citizens marks the annual holiday with a variety of various festivals countrywide.