Israel has held 610 foreign activists from the Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” in a facility in the south of the country, a spokesman for the Israel Prison Service confirmed on Tuesday.
He said the foreign nationals were held under “good conditions” in two—person or four—person cells of a new criminal prison called Ela, which opened in the southern Israeli Negev city of Beersheba only 10 days ago and was designed to hold up to 800 inmates.
Most of the activists, the earliest arrived late Monday afternoon and the last on Tuesday morning, came with no personal belongings, so they were all handed undergarments, toiletries, slippers, sheets and blankets. They were also given meals, said the spokesman.
Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said so far some 50 of the activists overpowered on board the flotilla had identified themselves and were taken to Ben Gurion International Aiport near Tel Aviv for deportation.
The rest were still being questioned in the Ela prison, after which it would be decided who would be deported and who would face legal action.
Six Italians from flotilla held in Israel
Six Italians on the aid flotilla destined for the Gaza Strip are being held in Israel, Italian officials said in rome on Tuesday.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said he hoped the group would be released “as soon as possible”.
“The Israelis say they are holding those who refused expulsion orders,” served against them, Frattini said in a interview on television news programme TG Uno.
Mr. Frattini said Italian embassy officials in Tel Aviv would visit the group.
The six have been identified as opera singer Giuseppe “Joe” Fallisi, journalist Angela Lano, Marcello Faracci, Manolo Luppichini, Manuel Zani and Ismail Abdel—Rahim Qaraqe Awin, who is of Palestinian origin, the ANSA news agency reported.
They were being held in Ashdod, a port city south of Tel Aviv along with many of the 480 people who were on the flotilla when it was attacked by Israeli forces.