The three Spaniards who were aboard a vessel intercepted by Israel while trying to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza spoke out against the Israeli government on their return to Spain.

Their detention in the Israeli port of Ashdod was "very rough," Ricardo Sixto, a leftist member of the European Parliament, told reporters at Madrid's Barajas International Airport.

A score of Gaza Flotilla supporters waving Palestinian flags were on hand to greet Sixto and attorney Begoña Zabala.

The Israeli government "has again assaulted a European-flagged vessel, and in international waters, breaching international law," Sixto said.

Israeli naval units surrounded the Finnish-flagged Estelle and commandos boarded the vessel, forcing the crew to sail to Ashdod, where the foreign activists were arrested for illegally entering Israel.

The third Spanish citizen on the Estelle, journalist Laura Arau, arrived in Barcelona late Sunday after being expelled from Israel.

Israeli agents subjected her and other passengers to "aggressive" interrogation, Arau told Efe.

The first effort to break Israel's blockade of Gaza came in May 2010, when a six-ship flotilla led by the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara was likewise intercepted by the Israeli navy.

In that instance, Israeli commandos killed nine people aboard the Marmara, including a Turkish-born U.S. citizen. 

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