The Israeli Yediot Aharonot newspaper on Thursday reported in its headline on a "Syrian provocation against Israel", saying the cousin of Syrian President is the owner of the ship which is expected to sail from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip. It also said that Israeli female soldiers have recently undergone training to take over the ship "Mariam" without the use of violence in order to avoid regional confrontations.
According to sources in Tel Aviv, Israel views the Syrian ships which will attempt to break the siege imposed on Gaza Strip as "enemy ships" in every sense of the word. Citing intelligence sources, the Tel Aviv-based daily said senior Syrian officials close to President Bashar al-Assad are standing behind the Lebanese aid flotilla. It is feared that violent Israeli raid on the ships will drag the region into war. It added that the companies which own the ships are based in the Syrian port city of Tartus.
Yediot Ahronot conveyed Israel is using diplomatic channels to send messages to Syria and Lebanon to stop the flotilla. Among others, Israel asked a number of Western countries, particularly the United States, France, Germany and Spain, to put pressure on the Lebanese government, in order to cancel the campaign.