PM : Flotilla raid was in self defense

Netanyahu cuts Canada visit short, cancels White House meeting.

May 31, 2010 17:36
2 minute read.
Binyamin Netanyahu and Stephen Harper

Binyamin Netanyahu and Stephen Harper 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that commandos who raided the Gaza-bound aid flotillas, killing nine and injuring dozens of others, were under attack and acting in self defense.

Netanyahu spoke after a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier on Monday.
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Israel wanted to check the cargo to ensure it contained no weapons,

Netanyahu said.

He said this was done successfully with five ships, but the sixth did not cooperate.

Netanyahu said hundreds of people on board that ship beat, clubbed and stabbed soldiers, and there was a report of gunfire. He asserted that forced soldiers to attack.

PM cancels White House visits, calls Obama on the phone

The prime minster cut short his visit in Canada Monday and canceled a visit planned Tuesday with US President Barack Obama in Washington so that he could return home.

Netanyahu spoke with Obama over the phone, and postpone their impending meeting to a later date.

The leaders agreed that their professional teams would be in close contact regarding the latest events and developments in the region.

White House: We 'deeply regret the loss of life'

In response to Monday's raids, the White House issued a cautious reaction, saying "The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."

Last week White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, in the country to celebrate the bar mitzvas of his son and nephew, delivered the invitation during a meeting with the prime minister in his office in Jerusalem.

Obama “has asked me to extend an invitation to you to come visit him at the White House for a work meeting to discuss both our shared security interests as well as our close cooperation in seeking peace between Israel and its neighbors,” Emanuel told Netanyahu.

He made sure to mention his warm feelings for the country and its people during a visit, which he described as “heartfelt.”

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