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article imageGaza aid flotilla attacked by Israeli military

By Tar De Moutonnoir     May 30, 2010 in Politics
At least 10 people were killed as Israeli forces opened fire on an international humanitarian aid flotilla attempting to break the naval blockade of Gaza. The confrontation has attracted international condemnation of Israel.
Several media sources say the flotilla of aid ships was intercepted and hemmed in by Israeli warships as they attempted to reach the shores of the Gaza Strip. At least one of the ships was then boarded and fired upon killing 10 peopel and injuring between 30 and 50 others. The names and nationalities of the casualties are unknown but the ships are carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists from around the globe including current and former politicians.
According to World Bulletin, Turkish sources report Israeli forces used live fire on the activists in the international aid ships. The flotilla's lead ship, the 'Mavi Marmara,' was attacked with gas canisters and live ammunition while operating in international waters 65 kilometers outside the Gaza coast.
Footage airing on Al-Jazeera television showed heavily armed Israeli soldiers in ships and helicopters. Commandos were then seen rappelling from helicopters armed with assault rifles onto the deck of a ship and maneuvering near passengers in orange life vests. It later showed what appeared to be a shooting victim covered in blood receiving attention from another passenger.
Haaretz is reporting that the number of fatalities has now risen to at least 10 with more than 60 injured; Israeli television has put the figure at between 14 and 16.
At least four Israeli soldiers were wounded in the operation, the New York Times reports.
A radio report from ipadio can be found here.
The Free Gaza Movement had sought to break the three-year-long Israeli blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip and deliver badly needed humanitarian aid, including food, medical supplies, construction materials and olive trees.
A post on the group's WitnessGaza website tracked the progress of the flotilla from its departure point to the Gaza Strip, and reported:
At about 4:30 am, Israeli commandos dropped from helicopter onto deck of Turkish ship, immediately opened fire on unarmed civilians. Don't know fate of the other boats.
At this point, all communications from the flotilla appear to have been stopped.
Diplomatic tensions are already beginning to be felt as Turkey has now summoned the Israeli envoy over the flotilla attack. In Turkey, people have reacted with protests in both Ankara and Istanbul were crowds continue to gather. Earlier, outraged protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul before being pushed back by security sources.
An official response has yet to emerge from the Israeli government but an Israeli cabinet minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed regret in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio:
The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities.
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