NZ union leader detained by Israeli military

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Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians during Friday protests at the Gaza-Israel fence, the health ministry said in a statement.

IDF forces in the Binyamin area early Monday morning made sure one television station couldn't carry Hamas propaganda over the airwaves anymore as the Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians who operated the Hamas-affiliated al-Quds TV station. An hour later, the IDF Spokesman's Unit said in a statement that both flotilla ships had been boarded and were being escorted to Ashdod.

European activists and a Jordanian lawmaker are on board al-Awda, which is also carrying medical aid for Gaza residents, he added.

United Nations officials and rights activists have called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian enclave of two million people run by Hamas.

Israeli forces have reportedly stopped the three-vessel Freedom Flotilla which was nearing the Gaza Strip.

There have been several attempts to sail to Gaza in recent years, most notably in 2010 when Israeli naval commandos killed nine Turks in a raid at sea.

On Board were were activists, sailors and human rights activists, including Professor Ismail Naz, head of the Malaysian campaign for the boycott of Israel, writes "New Time". Two years ago, 13 women, including Northern Ireland's Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire headlined a "Women's Boat to Gaza" before being some 35 nautical miles off the Gaza coast and detained.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said that as such the blockade of Gaza should come to an end and the freedom of movement for all Palestinians must be restored.

Unite's national secretary Gerard Hehir said the boats were in global waters when they were detained and taken to the southern Israeli port of Ashod.

Israel maintains its blockade to keep material it believes could be used for military purposes from entering the coastal enclave, run by the militant Hamas.

The botched raid angered Turkey and saw it cut off ties with Israel until 2016. It was the first public attempt to break out of the blockade and not into it. At least 136 Palestinians have been killed and thousands of others were injured by Israeli fire since the protest started.