At least 10 activists killed, six soldiers wounded in violent Israeli takeover of Gaza flotilla
|International activists aboard the flotilla of ships on their way to the Gaza Strip opened fire on IDF soldiers who boarded the ships to prevent them from breaking the Israeli-imposed sea blockade, the IDF said Monday.|
According to the IDF, the international activists “prepared a lynch” for the soldiers who boarded the ships at about 2 a.m. Monday morning after calling on them to stop, or follow them to the Ashdod Port several hours earlier.
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According to IDF reports, at least 10 acitivists were killed during the ensuing clashes as well as six Navy commandos, some of them from gunfire and at least one in serious condition with a head wound. Foreign reports claimed that the number of dead was close to 15. Some of the wounded were evacuated to Israeli hospital by Air Force helicopters.
Upon boarding the ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passangers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists succeeded in stealing the weapon from one of the IDF’s soldiers and reportedly opened fire, leading to an escalation in violence.
“It was like a well-planned lynch,” one IDF officer said. “These people were anything but peace activists.”
The IDF said that the ships would be taken to the Ashdod Port where, despite the violence, the cargo that are carrying will be inspected and then transferred to the Gaza Strip via land crossings. Israeli Navy commander Vice-Admiral Eliezer Marom was commanding over the operation from sea.
The Navy made initial contact with the flotilla at 11 p.m. on Sunday ordering the ships to follow them to Ashdod Port or otherwise be boarded.
The actual boarding of the ships took place at 2 a.m. Monday and was yet to be completed by 8 a.m.
Activists aboard the ships repeatedly said they would not respond with violence to the navy's interception of their flotilla prior to the boarding.
Al-Jazeera reported Turkish leaders called an emergency meeting to discuss responses to the attack at sea. The Israeli ambassador in Turkey was called in to offer explanations, according to a report.
Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh came on Al-Jazeera to condemn the “brutal attack” and called on the UN to intervene on the activists' behalf.
The ministry condemned Monday's raid on the ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists, called it unacceptable and demanded an "urgent explanation" from Israel. It says Israel violated international laws and will suffer consequences.
AP contributed to the report.
Turkey threatens reprisals after 20 dead reported on pro-Palestinian flotilla
DEBKAfile Special Report May 31, 2010, 9:48 AM (GMT+02:00)
Foreign sources report up to 20 dead on the pro-Palestinian aid flotilla intercepted by Israeli naval commandos at sea report at least two passengers killed, Turkish sources say 10, up to 50 injured in clashes on board early Monday, May 31 80 miles at sea. Nationwide alert for disturbances declared in
The troops dropped by helicopters were said to have used gas canisters and gunfire against the passengers aboard the Turkish lead-vessel of the six-boat convoy after a soldier was knifed, leading to pandemonium aboard. The six boats remaining in the convoy are being escorted to the Israeli
Israeli will deliver its aid cargo to
Hours after the incident, the Israeli military spokesman had still not commented on the Arab and Turkish accounts. It was not clear for instance why
Police have shut down
The Israeli ambassador was summoned to the Turkish foreign minister as protesters gather outside the Israeli consulate in
|At least 10 activists killed as Israel Navy opens fire on Gaza aid flotilla IDF says 10 killed, 2 commandos wounded, troops attacked when trying to board ships; Turkish TV says over 60 pro-Palestinian campaigners wounded after aid convoy bound for Gaza ignored Israel's order to turn back. |
IDF: Flotilla Passengers Were Violent and Stabbed Soldier
(Israelnationalnews.com) The IDF reports that the crew of the Gaza-bound flotilla lay in wait for the IDF to board their vessel and then attacked IDF soldiers violently. One soldier was stabbed in the stomach with a sharp object, according to the IDF statement. The soldier is in moderate condition and was transferred for medical treatment by helicopter to Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Doctors there determined he would require surgery. Two other soldiers were also wounded and were transferred to Tel Hashomer hospital.
Sivan 18, 5770, 31 May 10 12:19by Rachel Sylvetsky and Eli Stutz
Other people wounded in the operation were transferred to various hospitals in Israel via helicopter. Several news agencies including Turkey's news agency are claiming that Israeli forces wounded dozens of the crew and that two were killed. Footage from the operation has already reached some news sites. In the footage, Israeli soldiers wearing gas masks can be seen. In one video, an IDF doctor can be seen treating one of the wounded.
Late Sunday night, the Israeli Navy surprised the six-boat flotilla bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza in international waters and hundreds of IDF soldiers who came by air and sea boarded the ships and announced to all passengers that they are under arrest.
One of the crew said that one “Navy warship” had contacted the six boats in the flotilla and asked them to identify themselves. They were told the Navy would board the boats if the ships's crew and passengers do not agree to head for the Ashdod port instead of the Gaza Coast, where Israel maintains sovereignty under the Oslo Accords and does not allow ships to approach without searching them for arms.
International law allows for countries to ask suspicious boats to identify themselves. The vessels' passengers did not cooperate and called the move "scare tactics" on their streamed broadcasts.
The IDF searched the boats for arms immediately after the takeover. The soldiers were forced to use tear gas after they were attacked with knives, daggers and cudgels, putting their lives in danger. Unofficial reports that ten persons have been killed and another ten wounded were admitted to Rambam Hospital in Haifa were changed by the Arab television station Al Jazeera, to two killed and four wounded. An Al Jazeera reporter on one of the boats reported hearing gunshots.
The IDF has not issued a complete report on casualties or wounded in the operation. However, hospitals were put on alert to accept possible wounded.
The IDF released a terse statement shortly after midnight Sunday, stating, "Israeli Navy soldiers left this evening in order to stop the flotilla's provocative trip to Gaza. During the last few days, the soldiers have been conducting drills to ensure the mission's success."
Turkey's government called an emergency meeting to discuss the IDF action. Defense Minister Barak is holding ongoing meetings with his advisors.
The flotilla activists, some of whom are identified with terrorist Muslim groups, did not expect a confrontation with the Navy until Monday morning, when the flotilla expected to near the Gaza coast.
The flotilla sailed on Sunday, more than two days later than planned and without two of the ships that did not join because of malfunctions but which were expected to set sail after repairs.
“We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation of threats of violence against us,” said activist Huwaida Araf from the ships. “They are going to have to forcefully stop us.”
Israel was determined not to allow the boats to reach Gaza and set a precedent that would break Israeli sovereignty over the waters in order to prevent terrorists and arms from being smuggled from the Mediterranean Sea as they are from Egypt.
The flotilla included three ships of passengers and three cargo ships with aid. The Israeli military and Foreign Ministry accused the activists of being more interested in trying to stage an anti-Israel stunt and strengthen Hamas rather than trying to help Gaza Arabs. Government spokesmen pointed out repeatedly that aid always can be shipped to Gaza through the Ashdod port, and that the alleged “humanitarian crisis” is a ruse because Israel oversees daily shipments of hundreds of tons of food, merchandise and supplies.
And the enemy version - of course they are totally innocent, as usual! Al-Jezeera version:
about another suspect key figure in the story, the "Swiss" MP Josef Zisyadis, and who he really is. It's not Switzerland, it's a fifth column within Switzerland!
- Aftershocks and Repercussions of Flotilla Operation
In Istanbul, Turkey, hundreds of people are protesting Israel's Gaza flotilla operation outside Israel's consulate. Israel's ambassador to Turkey has been summoned for a rebuke by Turkey's foreign ministry, which blames Israel for the incident, calling it, "an unprecedented criminal act which has sent Israel-Turkey relations into a tailspin."
Security forces and Magen David Adom are preparing for possible violence across Israel due to the IDF flotilla operation. In Gaza, Hamas terrorists are calling on Arabs to take to the streets and to, "take revenge on Israel." The country is on its highest alert. Israeli Arab MK Taleb A-Sanaa issued a press release Monday in which he called IDF soldiers “Nazis” for stopping the pro-Gaza flotilla. PA Chairman Machmoud Abbas as announced three days of mourning for the Flotilla "victims".
- IDF Soldier Critically Injured
The IDF spokeman's office confirmed that the pro-Arab activists used live fire on the soldiers even though they depicted themselves as "peace activists".
- From Ynet:
Israeli Arabs call general strike over Gaza flotilla takeover(Video) Acting Higher Arab Monitoring Committee head calls incident 'massacre'. Deputy of Islamic Movement official Sheikh Raed Salah, rumored to have been injured in takeover, says 'this was an assassination attempt'...
- Ongoing updates on Debkafile
- From this new blog I just discovered:
Very interesting that the CATHOLIC CHURCH should also be involved. Of course it was to be expected. That "peace loving" Catholic Church, we do know it by now, don't we??
May 31, 2010
linked to global terror
found weapons (at least two guns) prepared in advance and used against our forces.
violent in planning and execution
outcome the responsibility of the organizers
their intent not humanitarian, not interested in kidnapped soldier
wanted to establish corridor of weapons trafficking to Hamas
- Slanted news against Israel, but new info - THIS FOOTAGE IS FROM TEHERAN!!
- From Women in Green
Comment: AND FROM ME TOO!!!DS
- Our friend Shifra Hoffman's comment:
VAT Welcomes Israel's Show of Strength
VAT President Shifra Hoffman welcomed Israel's show of strength, saying, "Peace will come when Israel is strong, believes in G-d, and does what it has to do to protect its land and people."
"There cannot be peace when there's terrorism, and Prime Minister Netanyahu must take the recent events, including the PA's threat to stop the proximity talks, as a Divine sign that the peace charade must be stopped.
- http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/137785 -
- VIDEO OF PRESS CONFERENCE OF DANNY AYALON!
Navy Prepared to Face Anarchists, Met Terrorists Instead
Lev-Rom said that at one point around midnight, “our ships started calling upon them to stop, or else the full responsibility would be upon them.” It was similarly publicized in news sources around that time that Israel said it would give the boats time to adhere to the instructions before its forces would begin to board them.
“There was no answer other than curses in English and Arabic,” Lev-Rom said. Around 4 AM, the commandos started boarding the boats, rappelling onto them by ropes and armed only with pistols. At that point, Lev-Rom said, “the demonstrators on board attacked the Israelis with light weaponry, including knives and clubs, in true lynch-like fashion. The commandos are certainly well-trained, but it’s quite hard to fight back when it’s 6-10 people against one. They started beating our soldiers with bats and sharp objects and the like, and even some pistols were taken and fired at our soldiers.”
Lev-Rom noted that the army is checking a report that rifles were fired at the Israelis. “The fighting occurred on deck, but one soldier was thrown down to a lower floor, and another soldier had no choice but to throw himself off the boat into the water. From then on, the soldiers had no interest other than to protect themselves and their comrades. Their actions, from all indications, were without reproach, as well as very heroic. Several soldiers were only seconds only away from death before their fellow soldiers saved them.”
“The activists had many things ready for an attack on the soldiers,” Lev-Rom said, “including, for instance, a box of 20-30 slingshots with metal balls; these can kill. There were also all sorts of knives and many similar things. These are what they call ‘cold’ weapons, as opposed to live fire. It was quite clear that a lynch had been prepared.”
Lev-Rom said, however, that it appears the army, “even though it prepared for many different scenarios, was not ready for this one. The army seems not to have known what type of people were there and what type of weapons they had. It was hard for Israel to conceive that the ship, sponsored by the country of Turkey, would have such weapons. Israel was prepared to deal with anarchists, and instead had to deal with terrorists – that’s the feeling here.”
A total of 38 wounded were taken to four different hospitals in Israel, including seven Israeli soldiers. Among the latter are two in serious condition and three in moderate condition. No specific reports were issued on the 31, other than they are being treated in Sheba-Tel HaShomer, Ramban in Haifa, Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, and Beilinson in Petach Tikvah.
The IDF issued a statement saying that, “As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity [by the ships’ passengers], naval forces employed riot dispersal means, including live fire. Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants on board the ships were planning to lynch the forces… The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.”
|Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a press conference on Monday that while he was sorry for lives lost, the organizers of the Gaza-bound protest flotilla were solely responsible for the outcome of the fatal IDF raid earlier in the day. Fifteen activists were killed and dozens wounded in the violent clashes.|
Barak said that the soldiers tried to disperse the activists aboard the ship peacefully but were forced to open fire to protect themselves.
He called the flotilla a provocation, specifically called the IHH, an Islamic aid organization, "extremist supporters of terror."
The defense minister also called on Arab and Palestinian leaders not to let this "provocation by irresponsible people" ruin the progress made in proximity peace talks.
Ashkenazi: Soldiers acted in self defense
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Monday that the violence aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships of the Gaza-bound protest flotilla, was instigated by those aboard the ships and that soldiers who opened fire were defending themselves.
Ashkenazi noted that the Mavi Marmara, the only ship on which violence took place, was different than the other five ships of the flotilla. He said that five ships carried humanitarians and peace activists but the Mavi Marmara was sponsored by the extremist organization the IHH and those aboard acted in "extreme violence."
Navy chief praises soldiers 'bravery'
Israeli Navy commander Vice-Admiral Eliezer Marom said Monday that IDF soldiers that raided Mavi Marmara acted with "perseverance and bravery."
Marom said that the soldiers lives were in danger and that they fired their weapons in self defense. He added that given the situation, many more than ten people could have been killed if the soldiers had not acted with the proper sensitivity.
Ayalon: Flotilla was 'an armada of hate and violence'
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that the flotilla of ships "was an armada of hate and violence."
Speaking at a Jerusalem press conference on Monday morning. "It was a premeditated and outrageous provocation" and its organizers had ties to global Jihad, al Qaida and Hamas, said Ayalon.
"Their intent was violent, their methods were violent and their results were unfortunately violent," Ayalon said.
"Israel regrets the loss of life and did everything it could to avoid this outcome," Ayalon stressed, adding that Israel had offered to transport the humanitarian cargo on board the ship to Gaza.
"The organizers on the ship did not heed the calls of our forces this morning to peacefully follow them and bring a peaceful closure to this event," said Ayalon, iterating that the successful arrival of the flotilla in Gaza would have created "a corridor of arms smuggling."
The Foreign Ministry has convened a noon meeting of all ambassadors in the country. The Turkish ambassador was requested to arrive half-an-hour early for a private conversation.
Political echelons, security and police hurried to respond on Monday to deadly clashes that took place earlier in the day between Navy commandos and members of a Turkish flotilla bound for Gaza.
Livni offers help with diplomatic crisis
Kadima chair Tzipi Livni called Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to offer her help in dealing with the diplomatic crisis Israel was likely to face in the aftermath of the violent incident.
Livni's party mate Kadima Council head Haim Ramon attacked Netanyahu's government for mishandling the Gaza flotilla affair.
In Canada, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was getting constant updates on the clashes, a foreign ministry spokesman told Army Radio. Netanyahu is in Canada as part of a trip that has him slated to meet Tuesday with US President Barack Obama.
The IDF and police were preparing for the possibility of demonstrations and violence among Palestinians as well as Israeli-Arabs on Monday, amid reports of up to 15 dead.
Northern District police chief Cmdr. Shimon Koren completed an evaluation of the security situation in the North on Monday morning, and ordered a high state of alert and instructed police officers to be ready "for the possibility of any scenario or attempt to cause a disturbance."
Also Monday morning, Israeli NGO Gush Shalom was set to demonstrate in support of the "Free Gaza" convoy, according to an email circulated by the group.
The demonstrators intend to converge outside the center in Ashdod where the detained international aid activists are supposed to be held.
Meanwhile, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch cancelled a planned appearance at an anti-violence march in Lod scheduled for Monday. The march will go ahead as planned.
» 05/31/2010 09:53
TURKEY - ISRAEL
Israel attacks ship carrying aid to Gaza. At least 10 dead
The Israeli commandos used helicopters and patrol boats to attack the ships. There were also two deaths among the IDF soldiers. Israel temporarily censors the news. Vessels carrying cement, wheelchairs, water purifiers and prefabricated houses to contest the blockade on the Strip. Thousands of Turks demonstrateoutside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.
» 05/31/2010 12:46
ISRAEL - TURKEY
State of alert throughout Israel. "Brink of war or new Intifada"
by Joshua Lapide
Toll from attack rises to 19 dead. Roads to the West Bank and the Gaza crossings closed. Access to Temple Mount mosques forbidden. Raed Salah, Palestinian leader of the northern Israel is seriously hurt. Arab and Israeli strikes in Gaza. Abbas declares three days of mourning and calls the Israeli operation "a massacre". Israel claims aid ships were "a provocation" with links to terrorism. Anti-Israeli demonstrations in Istanbul. Ankara withdraws its ambassador from Tel Aviv.
- Germany: Israel's reaction seems disproportional
HERE THEY GO AGAIN! HAVEN'T THE GERMANS LEARNED, ONCE AND FOR ALL, THAT THEY HAVE LOST ALL ETHICAL AND MORAL RIGHT TO JUDGE AND CRITICIZE THE JEWISH PEOPLE , FOR EVER AND EVER, IN 1939-1945? DO WE HAVE TO REMIND THEM OF THE 6 MILLION PLUS INNOCENT JEWS THEY KILLED IN COLD BLOOD? THE LEAST THING THEY CAN DO AT THIS POINT IS PUT UP AND SHUT UP. THAT IS THE VERY LEAST.
And France's comments not to be outdone:
Sarkozy Condemns Israeli Response as 'Disproportionate'
His office issued a statement saying that "The President expressed his surprise at the tragic consequences of the Israeli action."
Come on, Sarkozy, have you no shame? What about Vichy? What about the 76,000 innocent Jews, if not more, that your country willingly and knowingly sent to their deaths? What about Ilan Halimi? What about the daily attacks on Jews in your country under your very own presidency? Do we hear any protest there?
Please spare us the moralizing and shut up, you too.
Head of Anti-Semitism Watchdog Group Targeted in France
Ghozlan has filed a complaint with police, who are investigating.
The arson was “an anti-Semitic attack and intimidation,” Ghozlan said. He told the European Jewish Press that he had not received any threats prior to the attack, and that no individual or organization has claimed responsibility.
Ghozlan, a retired French police captain, heads the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l'Antisémitisme (National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism). He aims to protect Jews in neighborhoods known for anti-Semitic violence by ensuring that attacks are reported.
He has also pushed police to look into anti-Semitism as a motive for attacks on Jews, and has drawn attention to anti-Semitic incitement.
Anti-Semitic attacks nearly doubled in France in 2009, with Jewish organizations counting 832 attacks on Jews compared with 474 in 2008. The increase was apparently linked to Israel's counterterrorism offensive in Gaza in early 2009; by summer, the number of attacks had dropped to previous levels.)