JERUSALEM, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The pro-Palestinian activists scheduled to set sail to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday have armed themselves with chemicals in order to resist the Israeli attempt to block them from reaching their destination, according to intelligence recently collected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
IDF spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibowitz told reporters during a telephone conference Monday night that one of the 10 vessels that are due to participate in the flotilla is carrying "sacks of dangerous chemical materials" to be used against the Israeli troops.
She declined to comment on the nature or type of the chemicals. "They can either be thrown at the soldiers or set ablaze," she said.
Additional intelligence received by the Israeli military late Monday suggests that extremists have boarded the flotilla's U.S.- flagged ship.
"The flotilla's organizers have made attempts in recent days to draw a serene picture of a human rights mission. Among the passengers on the American ship there are extremists who publicly declared that many Israeli soldiers will be killed in the next flotilla," Leibowitz said.
In contrast to recent assessments that participants in the upcoming flotilla would mostly resort to passive resistance, Leibowitz said the military "does anticipate extremists being active."
She said the Israel Navy has prepared for a wide assortment of scenarios, from coping with minimal resistance to countering the firing of live ammunition.
The IDF has also developed "soft-power" tactics over the past year in a bid to keep the physical contact with the activists to a minimum, including the use of water cannons and disrupting communications, Leibowitz said, adding that the military's response would depend on the type of threats the troops will encounter.