Deaths confirmed after Israel storms Gaza aid convoy
Updated at 8:10pm on 31 May 2010
At least 10 people have been killed after soldiers stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli army.
The six ships carrying hundreds of passengers, many of them human rights activists, are on the last leg of a high-profile mission to deliver 10,000 tonnes of aid to Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.
The exact location of the interception is unclear and it is also not known how many of the six ships in the flotilla the Israelis boarded.
Israel had warned the ships not to enter its territorial waters, calling the campaign a "provocation intended to delegitimise Israel".
The Israeli military confirmed on Monday its troops came under fire while intercepting the flotilla and more than 10 activists have been killed. It says during the takeover, soldiers encountered serious physical violence by the protesters who attacked them with live fire.
Organisers of the flotilla say at least 30 people were wounded in the incident, while Israel says 10 of its soldiers were wounded, one seriously.
An Israeli Cabinet minister on Monday voiced regret for the deaths. Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel's Army Radio that television images were not pleasant.
Turkish TV pictures taken on board the Turkish ship leading the flotilla show Israeli soldiers fighting to control passengers, the BBC reports.
The footage showed a number of people, apparently injured, lying on the ground. The sound of gunshots could be heard. It is not clear whether the fighting is continuing.
The ships left international waters off the coast of Cyprus on Sunday and was expected to arrive in Gaza on Monday.
The economic blockade was imposed by Israel after the Islamist movement Hamas took power in Gaza. Israel says it allows about 15,000 tones of humanitarian aid into Gaza every week. However, the United Nations says this is less than a quarter of what is needed.
Meanwhile, demonstrations against the boarding of the aid convoy have begun in the West Bank city of Ramallah and Turkey.
The New Zealand Government says it is concerned at the situation. A spokesperson for Foreign Minister Murray McCully says New Zealand diplomats in the region are seeking further information about the incident.
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/stories/2 ... 480503bb0a
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/20 ... gaza-ships
This shit was crazy, I was watching a live feed from the boat just after it happened. Bodies were being dragged around and people attended to. It's fucked up, live voyeur news.