Israel has released more than 400 of about 600 foreign activists who were on board the Gaza aid flotilla later jailed in the south of the country, a spokeswoman for Israel Prison Service said.

By late Wednesday morning, 449 of the activists departed from the Ela prison in the southern Israeli desert city of Beersheba, a the spokeswoman confirmed to the German Press Agency dpa.

They included 123 nationals from Arab states, among them Jordan and Kuwait, who were bussed to Israel’s Allenby border crossing over the River Jordan with Israel’s eastern neighbour over night.

The rest were bussed to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv for deportation abroad. Most of them were Turks taken to the airport for transportation in two Turkish passenger planes waiting for them at the terminal.

Another 186 activists from the Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” were still in the Ela detention facility in the southern Israeli desert city of Beersheba, but Israeli authorities were processing their release “at this moment,” said the prison service spokeswoman.

The first buses had been leaving the Ela facility in the early hours, while more were leaving throughout the morning.

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