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Israel Again Refuses to Apologize for Attack on Turkish Ship

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (file photo)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (file photo)

Israel has once again rejected a demand from Turkey that it apologize for its attack on a Turkish ship last May that killed nine people.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a gathering in Jerusalem on Sunday that it is Turkey which needs to apologize to Israel for "supporting terror."

The ship, the Mavi Marmara, was sailing to the Gaza Strip with aid supplies when it was boarded by Israeli commandos. Israel said Turkey was breaking a Gaza blockade and that its troops opened fire in self-defense. Eight Turks and a Turkish-American were killed.

Thousands of Turkish citizens were on hand as the Mavi Marmara docked earlier Sunday at the Istanbul port of Sarayburnu.

The vessel had spent the past seven months undergoing repairs and refitting at a port on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

On Saturday Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Israel to apologize for the attack and pay compensation in order for diplomatic relations to resume.

Turkey responded to the attack on the ship by withdrawing its ambassador from Israel.

Turkish and Israeli diplomats held "fence-mending talks" in Geneva earlier this month, but the talks failed to end the diplomatic standoff.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.