N. Ireland Politics

Politicians condemn Israeli raid

Aid ship
Image caption One of the ships that was part of a convoy taking aid to Gaza

Politicians in Northern Ireland have condemned Israel's raid on a convoy of ships taking aid to Gaza.

The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said people are outraged by what happened.

The SDLP's Claire Hanna described the attack by Israel as a "totally disproportionate and unacceptable action" on a humanitarian mission.

The UN Security Council which met overnight in New York has called for an impartial inquiry.

At least 10 pro-Palestinian activists were killed.

Eight Irish citizens who were on the convoy of ships are now known to be safe.

The Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Dr Zion Evrony said he was "sorry that lives were lost and that killing people was never our intention".

Demonstrations against the Israeli actions were held in Belfast and Londonderry on Monday.

Mr McGuinness attended the event in Derry.

"Obviously people are outraged and very angry at this attack on human rights workers.

"People who are trying to assist Palestians have been treated despicably by the Israelis for many many years.

"I think people are absolutely outraged that we're seeing the Israelis get away with pure unadulterated murder."

The SDLP's international secretary Claire Hanna said: "Israel is clearly a "rogue state" which has a total disregard for the norms of international law.

"I have been to Ramallah in Gaza and the circumstances of the people there are appalling.

"Israel is totally in breach of international law by being in Palestine," she added.

Speaking in the Assembly on Tuesday, UUP MLA, Danny Kennedy expressed "regret" at the loss of life.

"I think Monday's incident highlights the underlying issues which remain and that is, finding a solution to the very complex issues at stake in the Middle East."

DUP MLA, Jonathan Bell said if international guidelines are followed then humanitarian aid can come in.

"I deprecate the loss, as any Christian will, of loss of life but let's be absolutely clear, the state of Israel has a right to defend itself against attack."

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin condemned Israel's raid and said it was a "totally unacceptable response".

The UN Security Council issued a statement calling for an impartial inquiry into Israel's raid on the Gaza-bound aid ships.

The statement said the inquiry should be "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent".