At least 10 people were killed May 31 after Israeli naval forces raided the aid ship convoy headed for the Gaza Strip, news agencies report.
Israeli marine commandos opened fire on the six-ship convoy after they were attacked with knives and axes by some of the passengers, an Israeli television station said without citing its source.The station did not identify if the dead were ship passengers or members of Israel’s navy forces.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Force said five soldiers were wounded. The flotilla ships will be taken to a detention camp prepared by Israeli authorities in the coastal town of Ashdod, CNN reports.
Members of the international community were quick to condemn Israel’s attacks. Leaders of Turkey, Sweden and Greece demanded explanations from Israel’s ambassadors to their countries. Nationals of different countries, including the three, were on board the aid ship convoy.
“We are shocked by reports of killings and injuries of people on board boats carrying supplies for Gaza, apparently in international waters,” Robert Serry, U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, and Filippo Grandi, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said in joint statement seen by CNN.
“We condemn the violence and call for it to stop,” the two added.
The convoy, dubbed the “Freedom Flotilla,” was expected in the Gaza port by morning of May 31. It was originally scheduled to arrive in Gaza on May 27 but was delayed because of technical problems, a representative of the Free the Gaza Movement explained.
Two of the seven original ships remained in Cyprus after sustaining some damages over the weekend, said Audrey Bomse, the legal adviser of the Free Gaza Movement, according to Agence France-Presse.
Israel has repeatedly vowed to stop the flotilla, which they said is a “provocative act” against their country.