Accessibility links

Breaking News

Activists Killed as Israeli Commandos Storm Gaza Flotilla

At least 10 pro-Palestinian activists are dead and several others wounded after Israeli commandos stormed a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. The demonstrators were trying to break the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.

The Israeli commandos raided the vessels before dawn in international waters about 60 kilometers off the coast of Israel.

Video shows clashes between demonstrators on the deck of the main vessel, a Turkish ship, and Israeli forces.

One of the flotilla's organizers, Audrey Bomse of the Free Gaza movement, tells VOA she considers the raid an attack on civilians.

"The boat on which people died had an 18-month-old baby on board," said Audrey Bomse. "There was no intent from them for violence."

Israel calls the attempt to break the blockade a provocation. Israeli prime minister's spokesman Mark Regev says the activists had prepared weapons to attack commandos when they came aboard.

"Our boarding party was met with deadly violence: knives, iron bars, and even live fire from weapons," said Mark Regev. "And as a result, there was a firefight."

There are conflicting reports as to who attacked first.

Israel took the ships to a nearby port. It said after inspection, it would transfer the humanitarian supplies to Gaza.