Reporters' log: Gaza flotilla

Reports from BBC correspondents after Israeli commandos board a convoy of ships carrying aid to Gaza.


After the funerals and after the rage Israel will face two big questions: if, as Israeli officials insist, they are happy to channel all this aid into Gaza via Israeli ports - including the building materials which it claims Hamas could put to military ends - then what's the point of the blockade?

And how far can it continue to stick to the line that "there are no shortages in Gaza", when the United Nations, among others, describes the humanitarian situation as "grim" and "deteriorating"?


According to the Israeli army at least 10 peace activists were killed when navy commandos boarded the Gaza aid flotilla in the early hours of the morning.

An army spokesman said the activists refused an order not to go to Gaza with their boats laden with humanitarian aid and instead dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod.

The army says its troops were attacked by the activists with axes, knives and firearms.

At least four Israeli marines were injured, said a spokeswoman, including one who was shot when his gun was snatched by an activist.

There's now a state of alert across Israel.


Israel had warned it was going to use limited force to stop the flotilla. It seems to have used more than that.

Television pictures from on board the ships show Israeli armed commandos storming the boats.

You can hear what sounds like gun shots and a number of people can be seen lying on the deck, apparently injured.

It took place around 60km out to sea in international waters. An Israeli government minister expressed regret for any loss of life.

Israel has said it will tow the ships to Ashdod where a special passport and detention centre has been set up.

It says from there the activists will be deported. Here in Gaza the Hamas prime minister has called the Israeli operation an act of piracy.


Within hours of the first clashes between Israeli forces and the Gaza bound convoy the Turkish government issued a strongly-worded condemnation of the Israeli actions.

Once again Israel has shown that it ignores human rights and peaceful initiatives, read the statement from the foreign ministry.

It accused Israel of violating international law by using such force on the high seas, and said its actions could have irrevocable consequences for relations with Turkey.

The main organiser of the convoy is a Turkish-based Islamic charity and most of the activists on board are Turkish citizens.

Pictures of the confrontation have been repeatedly broadcast through the morning on Turkish television stations and an angry crowd has surrounded the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.

If the reports of large numbers of casualties are confirmed, relations between Turkey and Israel, already badly strained over the blockade of Gaza, will plunge to a new low.

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