20 killed, Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet - 31 May 2010 - English

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Israel   gaza   convoy   flotilla   human   rights   aid   intercepted   international   convoy   killing   Turkish   Turkey   shiatv  

Israel seizes vessel, protesters say Naval ships move in on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, reportedly killing twenty people, protest organizers and Arab media report. The last we heard, Israeli soldiers landed on the top deck of the Turkish boat and opened fire," said Adam Shapiro, husband of one of the flotilla leaders. He said he spoke with his wife by telephone around 8:30 p.m. and she described watching the Israeli seizure from her boat. "After that, we lost communication with all of the ships," Shapiro said. "She said her boat was being chased by Israeli ships and they were trying to outrun it." According to one unconfirmed report, the other protest vessels had been intercepted and were being led to Israel. Some of the injured reportedly have been evacuated to a hospital in Haifa. Flotilla organizers, Arab leaders and Turkish diplomats have already condemned the reported attack. Flotilla organizers say they were carrying first-aid supplies and medical professionals in the event of casualties, but according to Shapiro, "we thought that the possibility that Israeli soldiers would shoot" was a remote one. Flotilla organizers said they carried no weapons. The six-vessel flotilla, packed with hundreds of international activists, food and other humanitarian supplies, left Cyprus on Sunday night and was attempting to break Israel's long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel had vowed to intercept the boats, by force if necessary, and tow them to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where passengers would be arrested or deported. Israel says the blockade of Gaza, which is controlled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, is needed to combat terrorism. A live video feed from the Turkish boat showed images of Israeli soldiers boarding the vessel and firing some sort of weapons, though it was unclear whether the weapons were live rounds or less-lethal devices, such as stun grenades. The feed was abruptly cut.

Added by sethar12 on 31-05-2010
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