‘Scribe on Gaza ship says purchases made on his credit card`

Luppichini was aboard the Sfintoni-8000, when Israeli commandos took it over.

Jerusalem: An Italian journalist who was detained by the Israeli forces following the raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship has alleged that his credit card was used to purchase items after it was confiscated by authorities.

Manolo Luppichini was aboard the Sfintoni-8000, one of the smaller boats in the flotilla, when the naval commandos took it over.

"Nobody was killed on our boat," Luppichini told daily Ha`aretz by phone.

"We tried a little passive resistance around the boat`s bridge. The soldiers fired paint balls and two people were hurt by stun (taser) guns," he added.

After the Israel Navy took over the boat, the soldiers searched every passenger and confiscated everything they found, the journalist added.

"They took two cameras, microphones, a stand and other equipment from me and my photographer. They took one of the cameras as I was taking photographs," Luppichini, who was working for Italy`s RAI-3 television and an Italian-Swiss television channel when he was detained, said.

"Afterward they took my wallet, passport, bag and all personal effects on the boat," he alleged.

Luppichini was taken to Ashdod port and then transferred to a Be`er Sheva prison compound, where he said he was given a form saying his passport had been impounded.

On June 02, he was taken to an Immigration Authority compound and deported the following day.

Although he showed the document proving Israel had confiscated his passport, he told the daily that he was deported without receiving any of his property or identification papers back.

A few days ago Luppichini reportedly discovered that while he was confined in Be`er Sheva and after he was back in Italy, a day after his deportation, purchases were made with his credit card, which the Israeli authorities had confiscated.

One purchase was from a vending machine in Tel Aviv for about NIS 10 on June 2, another purchase for NIS 240 was made in Gedera`s Village Market while Luppichini himself was in Bologna, Italy, the paper said.

"The sums were not large," he said, adding "among other things because it`s a rechargeable credit card that had only 80 euros on it".

"But in principle it`s theft, for all intents and purposes.”

Luppichini has written a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, the Foreign and Defence ministers and to Israel`s ambassador and consuls in Italy on the matter.


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