06/02/2010, 00.00
ISRAEL - TURKEY
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Gaza ship activists expelled from Israel after sequester

By now everyone should have been expatriated. Activists give a different version of the raid to that of the Israeli army and government: "war crime", "violation of international law." The soldiers began to shoot and throw grenades without notice.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Israeli Army Radio today announced the expulsion of 250 pro-Palestinian activists who were arrested after the raid and seizure of certain vessels attempting to force the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Ministry said the rest of the activists will be escorted out of the country within the day. The decision to release the activists was taken late last night by the same Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, amid growing criticism from the international community towards the military operation against the "freedom flotilla". Some coaches have brought Turkish activists to Ben Gurion airport, others 124 Muslim activists from 12 countries were brought to the border with Jordan. Yesterday evening five Germans, six Greeks, and many others were released.

680 activists were taken to the Beer Sheva prison by Israeli commandos after the attack last May 31 ships.

The first statements of the activists are at odds with the interpretation given so far by the Israeli army. According to the IDF, the commandos who carried out the attack had to defend themselves because they have found resistance, denouncing the presence of weapons, knives, sticks. Activists from Germany - the Reichstag parliament - argue that perhaps only three activists had sticks and the others were defenceless.  One of them, Inge Hoeger, condemned the Israeli raid as a "war crime" and as a "violation of international law".

A Kuwaiti Parliamentarian, Walid al-Tabtabai said that "the Israelis treated us with harshness and humiliated women, men and children."

Some Palestinian activists still in prison, told their lawyers that the Israeli commandos opened fire, throwing grenades and tear gas from helicopters without first giving prior notice, creating panic and confusion among those who were on the ships. The attack caused the death of 9 people, mostly Turkish and injuring dozens of activists. Six soldiers were also wounded.  

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