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Journalists warned to avoid flotilla

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel said Sunday that any foreign journalist caught on board a Gaza-bound flotilla could face deportation and a 10-year ban from the country.

Journalists said they should be allowed to cover a legitimate news story, but Israel said the media would be complicit in an illegal breach of its naval blockade of a hostile territory ruled by a terrorist group.

The announcement comes just more than a year after a similar mission ended with the deaths of nine Turkish activists in clashes with Israeli naval commandos who intercepted them. Each side blamed the other for the violence.

Israel is eager to avoid a repeat of last year's raid, which drew heavy international condemnation and prompted Israel to ease its blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Israel says the blockade is justified because it is effectively in a state of war with Hamas.

Critics say that while Israel is entitled to stop arms smuggling, the blockade has amounted to collective punishment and caused widespread suffering among Gaza's 1.6 million people. The pro-Palestinian organizers of the flotilla say the mission is necessary to draw attention to the Gazans' plight.


Islamic fundamentalist forming political party

CAIRO (AP) -- A senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says he is forming a new political party as the Islamic fundamentalist group rapidly splinters.

Last week, several young members broke off and launched a rival to the Brotherhood's main Freedom and Justice Party.

Khaled Dawoud, a senior Brotherhood figure, said Sunday he and other members are forming a separate party to be called al-Riyada, Arabic for the Pioneers. He risks forfeiting Brotherhood membership, as the group has banned members from forming separate parties.

The Brotherhood was the most powerful and organized opposition party before President Hosni Mubarak was ousted Feb. 11 in a popular uprising. It had been expected to win big in parliamentary elections set for September.