Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel storms Gaza 'aid' boat, IDF: Soldiers were met by well-planned lynch, concealed handguns

Armed Navy ships escorted boats from the Gaza protest flotilla to Ashdod on Monday afternoon, hours after IDF soldiers and activists clashed in a fatal raid.

International activists aboard the ships opened fire on IDF soldiers who boarded the ships to prevent them from breaking the Israeli-imposed sea blockade, the IDF said Monday.

A commando who participated in the raid said that the attack "looked like the Ramallah lynch." IDF said the activists had prepared to kill the soldiers. The soldiers boarded the ships at about 2 a.m. Monday morning after the soldiers called on the ship to stop, or follow them to the Ashdod Port several hours earlier.

Upon boarding the ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passengers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists, according to an IDF report, succeeded in stealing two handguns from soldiers and opened fire, leading to an escalation in violence.

Al Jazeera on Monday broadcasted footage from the Gaza flotilla's lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showing Israeli Navy commandos boarding the ship. Helicopters could also be seen flying overhead.

"It was like a well-planned lynch,” one IDF officer said. “These people were anything but peace activists.”