One of three Spaniards held in Israel to be deported

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One of three Spanish nationals detained on the Gaza aid flotilla is be deported, Spain's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Aid worker Laura Arau "has voluntarily signed the deportation papers and will travel to Spain in the next 24 hours," a ministry official said.

The other two, fellow aid worker Manuel Tapial and journalist Manuel David Segarra, have not yet received the deportation forms.

The ministry earlier said that all three had refused to be deported and were being held at a detention centre in Israel.

A Spanish diplomat met them on Tuesday at the detention centre at Beersheva south of Tel Aviv.

"What would be best for everyone is that they return home as soon as possible, but it is up to them to make the decision," said Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos.

If they refuse to agree to their expulsion "for legitimate reasons", the procedure to bring them home "will be longer", he warned.

The aid workers belong to a Spanish NGO called "Culture, Peace and Solidarity Haydee Santamaria" while the journalist worked for Venezuelan television station Telesur.

The UN Security Council had called for the release of all ships and individuals detained Monday when Israeli commandos boarded an aid ship bound for Hamas-run Gaza Strip in a pre-dawn raid that left at least nine people dead.

There were 686 passengers from 38 countries on board the Turkish ship, one of six that was part of the aid flotilla, according to Israeli military radio.

The Israeli interior ministry said 45 passengers on the ship would be deported on Tuesday.

© 2010 AFP

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