Flotilla organizers: At least 10 activists killed in clashes

ByJPOST.COM STAFF
May 31, 2010 08:25

Defense officials say soldiers attacked with rocks and knives upon boarding ships, protesters stole soldier's weapon in escalating violence in Gaza waters.




Gaza boats

Gaza boats 311. (photo credit:Associated Press)

IDF Navy commandos encountered fierce resistance early Monday morning as they boarded international aid ships on the way to Gaza to break the Israeli blockade of the Strip.

According to defense officials, upon boarding the ships the commandos were attacked by activists with rocks, knives and metal pipes.



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The soldiers responded with crowd dispersion measures.


At one point activists succeeded in stealing the weapon of one of the soldiers, leading to an escalation in violence.

According to unconfirmed Turkish reports, 10 activists were killed and dozens more were injured.

At least 6 Israeli soldiers were injured in the fighting, 2 of whom are in moderate condition.

The Navy made initial contact with the flotilla at 11 p.m. on Sunday ordering the ships to follow them to Ashdod Port or otherwise be boarded.

The actual boarding of the ships took place at 2 a.m. Monday and was yet to be completed by 8 a.m.

Activists aboard the ships repeatedly said they would not respond with violence to the navy's interception of their flotilla prior to the boarding.

Al-Jazeera reported Turkish leaders called an emergency meeting to discuss responses to the attack at sea. The Israeli ambassador in Turkey was called in to offer explanations, according to a report.

Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh came on Al-Jazeera to condemn the “brutal attack” and called on the UN to intervene on the activists' behalf.

Apparently, IDF attempts to prevent broadcasting from the ships were unable to block the Turkish camera crew on board one of the ships.

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