Gaza boat escort 311.
(photo credit: AP)
escorted boats from the Gaza protest flotilla to Ashdod on Monday
afternoon, hours after IDF soldiers and activists clashed in a fatal
raid.The actual boarding of the ships
took place at 2 a.m.
Monday and was yet to be completed by 8 a.m.
International activists aboard the ships opened fire on IDF
soldiers who boarded the ships to prevent them from breaking the
Israeli-imposed sea blockade, the IDF said Monday.
A commando who participated in the raid said that the attack "looked like the Ramallah lynch." IDF said the activists had prepared to kill the soldiers. The soldiers boarded the ships at about 2 a.m. Monday
morning after the soldiers called on the ship to stop, or follow them to the
several hours earlier.
Israel's media defense will be washed away
by the flotilla
Gaza flotilla a triumph
Israel can learn from its adversaries to
According to IDF reports, at least 15 activists
were killed during the ensuing clashes and dozens were wounded. Some of
the wounded were evacuated to Israeli hospitals by Air Force
Five Navy commandos were also wounded, some of them
gunfire. At least two soldiers were seriously wounded.
reactions, Turkey, Sweden and Greece
summonsed their Israeli ambassadors for discussions on the violence.
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also
responded to the clashes, which he called
a "slaughter," according to an AFP report.
Upon boarding the
ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers
who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used
non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists, according to
an IDF report, succeeded in stealing two handguns from soldiers and
opened fire, leading to an escalation in violence.
Al Jazeera on
Monday broadcasted footage from the Gaza flotilla's lead vessel, the
Mavi Marmara, showing Israeli Navy commandos boarding the ship.
Helicopters could also be seen flying overhead.
was like a well-planned lynch,” one IDF officer said. “These people
were anything but peace activists.”
Ships will be taken to Ashdod Port
The IDF said
that the ships would be taken to the Ashdod Port where, despite the
violence, the cargo they hold will be inspected and then
transferred to the Gaza Strip via land crossings. Israeli Navy commander
Vice-Admiral Eliezer Marom was commanding over the operation from sea.
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
Activists aboard the
ships repeatedly said they would not respond with violence to the
navy's interception of their flotilla prior to the boarding.
Hamas PM condemns 'brutal attack'
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh appeared on Al-Jazeera television to
condemn the “brutal attack” and called on the UN to intervene on the
contributed to this report.