UPDATE 1650 GMT: Israel Defense Forces use water cannon and then board the mini-flotilla:
UPDATE 1435 GMT: Israel Defense Forces have put out a statement:
A short while ago, Israel Navy soldiers boarded the vessels which were en-route to the Gaza Strip, attempting to break the maritime security blockade that is in accordance with international law.
The boarding was carried out following numerous calls to the activists onboard and during different points at sea. Following their unwillingness to cooperate, and after ignoring calls to divert to the port of Ashdod, the decision was made to board the vessels and lead them there.
The Israel Navy soldiers operated as planned, and took every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the activists onboard the vessels as well as themselves.
Upon arrival of the vessels at the Ashdod port, the activists will be transferred to the custody of the Israel Police and immigration authorities in the Ministry of Interior.
The IDF said there were no injuries during the operation.
UPDATE 1345 GMT: Preparing to board the mini-flotilla, the Israel Defense Forces launch their PR campaign justifying the action, including this video:
The campaign is supported by these Twitter messages: "The IDF Chief of Staff ordered the Navy to board the vessels-should they refuse our radio requests....Goods can be unloaded at the Ashdod port and will be transferred into the #Gaza Strip via the legal land crossings....By the way, more than 50 rockets were fired at Israel from #gaza this week."
UPDATE 1145 GMT: Israeli warships have reportedly made radio contact with the mini-flotilla vessel Tahrir. Activists are putting out this account:
ISRAEL FORCES: "What is Tahrir's final destination?" br>
TAHRIR: "The betterment of mankind"
More than 17 months after Israeli forces prevented the Freedom Flotilla from reaching Gaza, boarding the lead ship and killing nine people, another aid convoy is trying to reach the Palestinian coast.
Israeli warships have begun shadowing the motor vessels Saoirse and Tahrir. The warships pulled within six miles of the "Freedom Waves" mini-flotilla before pulling back late Thursday, according to Freedom Waves spokesman Laurence Davis.
An Israeli military statement said, "The Israel Navy has completed the necessary preparations in order to prevent them from reaching the Gaza Strip. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] are fully prepared to guard the safety of Israel and its maritime border and to take any necessary action and prevent vessels from breaking the maritime security blockade."
According to activists, this mission is the 11th attempt to run Israel's blockade of Gaza by sea. Five missions arrived safely in Gaza between August and December 2008, with the rest intercepted by Israel.