An air of uncertainty remains over identities of some flotilla activists due to their refusal to cooperate with Israel.
By BEN HARMTAN
Four of the foreign citizens killed during the Israel Navy’s Monday night raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara were Turkish citizens, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, amid an air of uncertainty surrounding the identities of those killed in the raid and those arrested in Ashdod after the ship was towed to shore.An air of official ambiguity on the part of the Israeli government met inquiries into the identities of the foreign activists killed in the raid, making it difficult to determine which countries’ citizens died in the incident.A source at the Foreign Ministry did confirm that those arrested and killed were from 40 different nations, adding that large-scale refusal to cooperate with or identify themselves to Israeli authorities had complicated efforts to determine their nationalities. The source added that a number of those wounded in the takeover of the ship had refused medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.A source at the International Red Cross in Tel Aviv confirmed Tuesday that officials from the organization had visited a number of the detainees held at the Ela prison in Beersheba, but was not willing to confirm on the record what their nationalities were.The Red Cross takes responsibility for foreign detainees only if they are from countries that don’t have official relations with Israel, leading to speculation that those visited were from such countries.On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israelfor the raid on the flotilla, calling the incident “a bloody massacre.”All 42 British nationals who took part in the flotilla have beenaccounted for and remain in Israeli detention awaiting deportation, theBritish press has reported.AdvertisementGerman authorities confirmed Tuesday that 11 German nationals took partin the flotilla and that five had returned to Berlin, five remained incustody in Beersheba, and one was still unaccounted for.Also Tuesday, Muwaida Araf, an Israeli citizen and co-founder of theInternational Solidarity Movement and the Free Gaza Movement, wasreleased from custody.Upon her release, Araf told NPR that she had not been able to speak toany of the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara since the raid.
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