JERUSALEM - Israeli commandos on Monday stormed six ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on an aid mission to the blockaded Gaza Strip, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens.
The operation in international waters off the Gaza coast was a nightmare scenario for Israel that looked certain to further damage its international standing, strain already tense relations with Turkey and draw unwanted attention to Gaza's plight.
The two sides offered conflicting accounts of what happened.
A reporter on one of the boats said the Israelis fired at the vessel before boarding it. Israeli officials said the soldiers were attacked with knives, clubs and iron bars as they boarded the six vessels. The Israeli military said the violence turned deadly after one of the activists grabbed a weapon from one of the commandos. The weapon discharged, though it wasn't clear whether the activist fired it or if it went off accidentally.
"Our initial findings show that at least 10 convoy participants were killed," an Israeli military spokesman said, adding that at least four soldiers were wounded.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed regret for the deaths. However, he called the aid flotilla a "political provocation" by anti-Israel forces. Barak said the sponsors of the flotilla are violent.
However, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed shock over the incident and called on Israel to "urgently provide a full explanation."
MSNBC article here:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37423584/ns ... tn_africa/
Al-Jazeera live article (biased but updated regularly) :
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/ ... a-flotilla
tl;dr : A fleet of 6 ships containing humanitarian goods and a lot of officials from various countries that intended on publicly and (allegedly) peacefully breaking Israel's embargo on the Gaza strip was boarded tonight by Israelis forces. At least 10 (some say 19) were killed. Both side agree that this happened in international waters.
What is the legal state of such an action in the international waters ? Officially the ships are Turk. Is that a casus belli ? Is that an act of piracy ? Is there any serious source that proposes evidences that the ships were carrying threats to Israel's security ? What does the military-educated people think of this operation ? This looks like a fuckup from what I read. Why didn't they stop the ships like border patrol usually do with warning shots ? Any technical reason for that ?
I would love if we could comment intelligently on this difficult subject. Please stay technical. All the other internet forums are already full of the hate of both sides on this story.