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General News    H1'ed 5/31/10

Israeli Troops Kill Humanitarians on Flotilla to Gaza

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Israel troops, dropped from helicopters on a ship in the Gaza Flotilla
image shot from an Al Jazeera Video

Israeli Naval troops invaded a Turkish humanitarian aid boat with 600 civilians on board, part of a flotilla of six boats in international waters, and, according to Turkish NTV, killed 19 and wounded 60 humanitarian activists or more bringing aid to Gaza.

Here is raw video footage from journalists embedded on the ship as it was attacked, half in English, half in Arabic. Note that they report that the Israelis began jamming all communications immediately in an attempt to repress all reporting:

The Jerusalem post reported,
"According to defense officials, upon boarding the ships the commandos were attacked by activists with rocks, knives and metal pipes."
Ha'aretz reported,
According to the army, commandos who stormed the Turkish ferry Marmara, the largest vessel in the convoy, encountered violent resistance from activists armed with sticks and knives.

The fatal events are believed to have been started after an IDF soldier, who descended onto the ship from a helicopter, was attacked by the activists with metal rods. According to the IDF, such an event is considered life-threatening and necessitates the use of arms.

Ha'aretz also reported that Turkey has responded.
Turkey's foreign ministry on Monday denounced as "unacceptable" an Israeli attack on an aid convoy bound for Gaza which killed at least 10 people, summoning Israel's ambassador to discuss the incident and bringing already tense relations between the countries to new levels. The ministry said that Israel had violated International law and must now carry the consequence

Apparently, Israel attempted to prevent all broadcasts from the flotilla but the one video, which included images of Israeli troops on the Turkish ship did make it through.

The Free Gaza Movement website strongly contradicts the Israeli version of events:

Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep. According to the live video from the ship, two have been killed, and 31 injured (early report-casualties now much higher). Al Jazeera has just confirmed the numbers.

Streaming video shows the Israeli soldiers shooting at civilians, and our last SPOT beacon said, "HELP, we are being contacted by the Israelis."

We know nothing about the other five boats. Israel says they are taking over the boats.

The wounded are reported to be in Israeli hospitals.
American activist, writer and former US diplomat Ann Wright was on the boat and wrote of her experience here, but was transferred, before the attack, to a smaller boat.

Israel has engaged in repeated acts that appear almost insane in recent months--

Diplomats refused to meet with US members of congress when they accompanied leaders of J-Street-- a pro-Israel, peace supporting Jewish organization.

American academic Noam Chomsky was refused admission to Israel.

This latest, far worst incident is another sign of the extremist control at the helm in Israel.

White House chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is in Israel, celebrating his son's Bar Mitzvah. Comment from him and Hillary Clinton is awaited.
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