Gaza’s Ark was badly damaged and partially sunk by a large explosion at about 3:45 AM Gaza time on April 29th. No-one was injured. Mustafa Abu Awad, the guard who was on duty at the time, was taken to the hospital for tests and he has now been discharged.
The Ark was in the port of Gaza being readied to put to sea in June. Whether and when the boat can be repaired is something we will not know for sure until it can be pulled out of the water for inspection.
Awad said he had been warned to leave the area by an anonymous caller. “I was [sleeping] near the boat and someone phoned me — an unidentified caller. I answered and he told me: ‘Mustafa, leave the boat right now because we are going to blow it up.'”
The Gaza’s Ark project has been working for more than a year to prepare the boat to carry goods and passengers in the attempt to challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza. If successful, it would be the first time goods from Gaza have been exported by sea since 1994.
“This is a reckless and violent attack not only on a boat, but on thousands of supporters and donors worldwide,” says David Heap of the Gaza’s Ark Steering Committee. “We are closely following the police investigation of the attack and hope to know soon if the boat can be repaired.”
“What is certain is that we remain committed to continue challenging the blockade by any peaceful means available until it is lifted permanently,” adds Robert Naiman, another Steering Committee member. “Hope and justice are unsinkable.”
Less than 24 hours before this attack, Gaza’s Ark launched an international petition calling on the UN to act to lift the blockade. The appeal was signed by parliamentarians, Nobel Laureates, and other prominent figures from many countries, and now has more than 7,500 signatories from around the world. We strongly encourage our supporters to respond to this attack by signing, sharing and re-sharing our petition: