Royal Caribbean International is canceling its first-ever planned sailings from Haifa, Israel due to unrest, the cruise line announced Saturday.
The Odyssey of the Seas, the cruise line’s newest ship, had planned sailings from Haifa beginning June 2 and continuing through October. Instead of sailing from Israel, the ship will spend its inaugural season with sailings in Florida. Details of the future cruises have not yet been announced.
“Due to the unrest in Israel and the region, Odyssey has not been able to complete the preparations required to operate from Haifa as planned,” the cruise line said in a release provided by spokesperson Lyan Sierra-Caro.
The tensions began in east Jerusalem earlier this month, with Palestinian protests against attempts by settlers to forcibly evict a number of Palestinian families from their homes and Israeli police measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a frequent flashpoint located on a mount in the Old City revered by Muslims and Jews.
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Since Monday night, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has pounded the Gaza Strip with strikes. In Gaza, at least 139 people have been killed, including 39 children and 22 women; in Israel, eight people have been killed, including a man killed by a rocket that hit in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, on Saturday.
The latest outburst of violence spread across the region over the past week, with Jewish-Arab clashes and rioting in mixed cities of Israel. There were also widespread Palestinian protests Friday in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces shot and killed 11 people.
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