An Israeli television station released exclusive footage on Tuesday showing scenes from the takeover by the IDF’s elite Shayetet 13 naval commando unit of the Swedish vessel Marianne which was attempting to bypass Israel’s security patrols of the Gaza coast.
The dramatic reel was captured by Channel 2 reporter Ohad Chemo who was aboard the ship as it was boarded by the Israelis, and was able to film the footage first-hand. The IDF censor granted Channel 2 permission to release the footage on Tuesday.
The interception of the ship occurred on Sunday, at about 1:00 a.m., as it sailed between the Egyptian cities of Port Said and Al-Arish along the northern Sinai coast, approximately 160 km from Gaza.
The Israeli navy first ordered the ship to change course and head towards the Ashdod port. Negotiations then began between the Israeli forces, the ship’s captain, and Israeli-Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas. In the footage, Ghattas is seen raising a megaphone and telling naval personnel that “the captain requests that only one person board the ship, unarmed, to speak with us.”
The soldiers are heard responding, “if you don’t want any damage to be inflicted, please stop the ship and let us board peacefully, because this is our intention.”
Soldiers can also be heard addressing former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki who was on board the flotilla. One of the Israelis told Marzouki: “I am surprised that you are on your way to support a regime which has the same ideology of those who committed an act of terror on your shores.” The soldier was referring to the brutal assault on Friday by Islamic State sympathizer Seifeddine Rezgui, who killed dozens of innocents at a Tunisian resort, mainly British and European vacationers.
Though the navy faced little resistance, the footage shows a fight between the commandos and two of the ship’s passengers who had tied themselves to the vessel. The soldiers were forced to use a taser gun to subdue the pair, while other passengers stood by shouting at them for intercepting the ship in international waters.
The Marianne docked safely in Ashdod on Monday night and three of the activists on board were expelled from Israel.
Channel 2 said it will release the complete footage of the interception tomorrow.
Watch the exclusive footage below: