Israel said on Monday it had blocked a boat leading a four-vessel protest flotilla of foreign activists from reaching the Gaza Strip and forced the vessel to sail to an Israeli port. An Israeli military statement said there was no violence in the incident, in which troops boarded, searched and then forced the boat to sail to an Israeli port. Activists said the boat had a few dozen Europeans, including politicians, on board and had been headed for Gaza, the blockaded Palestinian territory. The Israeli statement early on Monday said that "after exhausting all diplomatic channels the Israeli government ordered the Israeli Navy to redirect the vessel in order to prevent breach of the naval blockade" of Gaza. It said troops searched the vessel in international waters and then escorted it to Israel's southern port of Ashdod.