NATO called Tuesday for a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation" into Monday's Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that ended with the deaths of nine activists.

Representatives of the alliance's 28 nations met on Tuesday to discuss the incident. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen demanded the immediate release of the detained civilians and ships held by Israel.

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Turkey called the emergency meeting, but its representative did not demand that the alliance take collective action against Israel, said a diplomat who attended the talks. The official asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

NATO, of which Turkey is a long-standing member, has reacted cautiously to the events. The alliance cooperates with Israel on anti-terrorism patrols in the Mediterranean.

The NATO calls for an investigation came after the UN Security Council had already called for a similar impartial investigation earlier on Tuesday.

The UN statement followed a Chinese condemnation, in which Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Beijing was "appalled, and condemns the Israeli navy's attack on the Turkish fleet shipping humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip."

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