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10 dead in Israeli raid

[ 2010-06-01 13:10]     字号 [] [] []  
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Israeli marines stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza on Monday and 10 pro-Palestinian activists were killed, triggering a profound diplomatic crisis.

Israel's allies in Europe, as well as the United Nations and Turkey, voiced shock and outrage at the bloody end to a bid by international campaigners to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Its navy stopped six ships ferrying 700 people and 10,000 tons of supplies to the Islamist-run Palestinian enclave.

The United States, Israel's key ally, said only that it regretted the loss of life and was looking into the "tragedy".

Israel's prime minister has called off a planned visit to the White House. Netanyahu, who is in Canada, was set to travel to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama on Tuesday. But his office said he decided to return home early.

As the captured foreign vessels were escorted into Israel's port of Ashdod, accounts remained sketchy of the pre-dawn interception in the Mediterranean, during which marines stormed aboard from dinghies and rappelled from helicopters.

Senior Israeli defense officials said 10 activists died on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish cruise ship carrying 581 people, after commandos came under fire, including with weapons that the activists had snatched from the boarding party. Seven troops and "numerous" protesters were injured, the military said.

Israel said commandos opened fire in self-defense. With Israel jamming signals and censoring media, there was little independent reporting of the events at sea.

An Israeli military spokesman said some of the commandos were equipped with paintball guns but the non-lethal weapons were not enough against activists who charged in with batons.

A Reuters cameraman on the Israeli ship Kidon close to the six-vessel aid convoy said commanders monitoring the operation were surprised by the strong resistance put up by the pro-Palestinian activists.

One of the commandos said some of the soldiers were stripped of their helmets and equipment and a number were tossed from the top deck to a lower deck and then leapt into the sea to save themselves.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

10 dead in Israeli raid

About the broadcaster:

10 dead in Israeli raid

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.