Israeli forces attack Gaza aid ship
Over nineteen Free Gaza Movement activists died yesterday when Israeli Defense Force commandos boarded vessels in international waters attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Reports say over 19 people are dead and over 30 were injured, including a captain. There is a radio and satellite blackout from the ships, which are now under Israeli control.
Over 700 humanitarian activists from the Free Gaza Movement were aboard the vessels, including former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, nobel laureate Mairéad Maguire, and several European members of parliament and MPs from Germany, Belgium, Algeria and Israel.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said that the organizers of the Gaza aid flotilla have connections to organisations such as Hamas and al-Qaeda. The so-called Gaza Freedom Flotilla of six vessels carried 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip, including hundreds of electric-powered wheelchairs, prefabricated homes and water purifiers.
The Israeli military had declared it would not allow the ships to reach Gaza and said the activists were a “provocation intended to delegitimise Israel”. The Israeli Navy had been transmitting messages throughout the night ordering them to turn back, stating: “If you ignore this order and enter the blockaded area, the Israeli navy will be forced to take all the necessary measures in order to enforce this blockade,” and that the Gaza region was a protected military zone.