Israeli naval commandos stormed a flotilla of civilian aid ships bringing supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip overnight, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens.
As estimates of the numbers killed in the high seas raid on the Gaza flotilla soared to as many as 19 in the Turkish and Israeli media, Israel’s military censor slapped a ban on any reporting of the toll of dead and injured. Some of the wounded were being ferried to hospitals inside Israel for treatment.
The Israeli army admitted to 10 deaths in the operation — with reports suggesting that nine of those killed were Turkish. The reports prompted a furious reaction in Istanbul where protesters attempted to storm the Israeli consulate.
An Israeli government spokesman said that its troops were attacked with knives and metal pipes as they attempted to board one of the ships from a helicopter. He said that shooting started when one of the civilians made a grab for a soldier’s gun.
A total of ten soldiers were wounded, including at least one hit by live fire, the army said. Two of the dead activists had fired at soldiers with pistols, the army said.
12:12 pm EDT, May 31st, 2010 — Soldier: ‘It felt like a lynch’ (video)