Israel deports Gaza flotilla activists, including Tunisian ex-president

Israel has deported a group of pro-Palestinian activists, including a former Tunisian president, who tried to breach its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said among those sent home Tuesday was former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki. Another 14 people on board the activist boat, which was peacefully intercepted early Monday, will be deported in the coming days.

Gaza has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007, when the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the territory from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Pro-Palestinian activists have launched flotillas aimed at drawing attention to the blockade ever since.

A 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla left nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists dead, dealing a serious blow to Israel's once-close ties to Ankara.