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Israel denies it damaged Gaza bound ships

Israel has denied claims it sabotaged ships trying to breach its sea blockade of the Gaza Strip.

world Updated: Jul 02, 2011 22:03 IST

Israel has denied claims it sabotaged ships trying to breach its sea blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Activists accuse Israel of damaging two ships docked in Turkey and Greece that are part of a flotilla attempting to reach the Palestinian territory with humanitarian aid. Efforts were further stalled Friday when Greece prevented ships from sailing.

Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor on Saturday dismissed the sabotage charges as "ridiculous," calling them "sad conspiracy theories."

Israel says it imposed the blockade in 2007 to stop weapons reaching the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza. Activists describe the blockade as a form of incarceration for the Palestinians.

Nine activists were killed last year in an Israeli raid on a similar flotilla.