Journalists Recall Experience When Israeli Fired At MV Finch


June 02, 2011 00:21 AM

Journalists Recall Experience When Israeli Fired At MV Finch

SEPANG, June 1 (Bernama) — Two journalists who were on board the Malaysian aid ship, MV Finch, on the humanitarian mission to Palestine recalled their most terrifying experience in the trip.

It was when the Israeli naval boats fired warning shots at MV Finch in the waters off Rafah as the Malaysian aid ship was approaching shore, forcing it to withdraw to Egyptian waters .

Bernama journalist, Mohd Faizal Hassan, 28, said he was on the lower deck of the ship with New Straits Times journalist, Iskandar Alang Bendahara, 36, and a volunteer from the publicity office (felda) of the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohd Radzillah Abdullah, 36, when it happened.

They were among 12 passengers onboard MV Finch which left Malaysia on May 3 to send sewage pipes to Gaza.

“On that day, May 16, we and two other volunteers, Jenny Graham, from Ireland, and Julie Levesque, from Canada, were on the lower deck.

“We lay down and held on to each other when he heard the first shot. At that time, we left everything to God,” he said when met on arrival at the KL International Airport here Wednesday.

Mohd Faizal, who was involved in the Malaysian humanitarian mission to Afghanistan with the armed forced in October last year and the aid mission to Japan last March, said it was a terrifying experience for them because they did not know what was really happening.

“Only God knew our feelings then,” he added.

He said it was only after the ship entered Egyptian waters that they went to the upper deck and was glad that everybody was safe.

“We are grateful that the Israeli soldiers did not come onboard our ship,” he added.

Mohd Faizal said the experience on MV Finch would never be forgotten and that his relationship with others onboard was very close that they were like brothers.

For Iskandar, despite the tense and dangerous situation, he managed to gather enough courage to video-tape the Israeli’s action.

“I was able to record when the Israeli fired twice at our ship, but the video cannot be viewed yet. We will show it when others have returned home,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohd Radzillah said that all this while he had only heard about Israeli’s cruelty.

“I have learned a lot during the journey. Lessons that can make us stronger,” he added.

The MV Finch was steered by a Malaysian, Captain Abdul Jalil Mansor, and assisted by four crew members, including two Malaysians, Zainuddin Mohamad and Mohd Jaffery Ariffin. The two others are Indian nationals, Sharma Chandan Shimla and Pal Satya Prakash.

The ship is still outside the port of El-Arish in Egypt and until yesterday, it has yet to be given permission to berth by the Egyptian government.



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