Tags: security | council | israel | gaza | raid | ship

UN Security Council Discusses Israeli Raid

Monday, 31 May 2010 02:32 PM

 

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The United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency meeting to discuss an Israeli naval raid on an aid flotilla.

At least nine passengers were killed, and dozens of others were injured, when Israeli commandos stormed ships bringing aid to the Gaza Strip early Monday. The flotilla, led by a Turkish ship, was in international waters about 60 kilometers off the coast of Israel when it was intercepted.

Israel says seven soldiers also were wounded in the violence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed regret at the loss of life, but said Israeli troops acted in self-defense.

Israeli Government Spokesman Mark Regev says the activists had weapons and were prepared to attack the commandos when they came aboard the ship. But representatives of the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the flotilla, described the raid as an attack on civilians, saying the activists did not have violent intentions.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the raid an act of "state terrorism." Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Israel and canceled three planned military exercises with Israel to protest the incident.

The aid ships, carrying more than 600 pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tons of supplies, left for Gaza Sunday and defied a radio warning from the Israeli navy not to approach the region.

Organizers from the Free Gaza Movement and a Turkish human rights group said the convoy was carrying medical supplies as well as cement and other building materials, which Israel has banned from entering Gaza because of what it says are security concerns.

Israel has taken the ships to a nearby port to begin deportation procedures for the activists. It says that after inspection, the humanitarian aid will be transferred to Gaza by land.

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