Israeli Forces Storm Flotilla Ship, Up to 14 Dead.
Late Sunday night, the Israeli Navy surprised the six-boat flotilla bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza in international waters and hundreds of IDF soldiers who came by air and sea boarded the ships and announced to all passengers that they are under arrest.
One of the crew said that one “Navy warship” had contacted the six boats in the flotilla and asked them to identify themselves. They were told the Navy would board the boats if the ships’s crew and passengers do not agree to head for the Ashdod port instead of the Gaza Coast, where Israel maintains sovereignty under the Oslo Accords and does not allow ships to approach without searching them for arms.
International law allows for countries to ask suspicious boats to identify themselves. The vessels’ passengers did not cooperate and called the move “scare tactics” on their streamed broadcasts.
The IDF searched the boats for arms immediately after the takeover. The soldiers were forced to use tear gas after they were attacked with knives, daggers and cudgels, putting their lives in danger. Unofficial reports that ten persons have been killed and another ten wounded were admitted to Rambam Hospital in Haifa were changed by the Arab television station Al Jazeera, to two killed and four wounded. An Al Jazeera reporter on one of the boats reported hearing gunshots.
The IDF has not issued a complete report on casualties or wounded in the operation. However, hospitals were put on alert to accept possible wounded.
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