Al Jazeera‘s Jamal Elshayyal describes the attack on the Mavi Marmara, witnessing activists being shot, how the injured were left to die, and how he was abused under Israeli detention.
The Turkish president has said that Israel’s military raid on civilian aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip has caused “irreparable” damage to his country’s relations with Israel, and will “never” be forgiven.
“From now on, Turkish-Israeli ties will never be the same. This incident has left an irreparable and deep scar,” Abdullah Gul said in a televised speech on Thursday, as thousands gathered in the streets of Istanbul to pay their respects to the humanitarian activists killed during the raid.
The raid “is not an issue that can be forgotten… or be covered up… Turkey will never forgive this attack,” he said.
Hassan Ghani, a journalist for PressTV describes his experience on board the Mavi Marmara as it came under Israeli attack.
Today’s Zaman adds:
Activists say some people who were initially on the flotilla are missing. They are also telling stories of horror, carnage and pure barbarism at the hands of Israeli officials. In a shocking account, Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) President Bülent Yıldırım, who returned on Thursday, said a photographer, whose first name was Cevdet, was shot in the forehead by a soldier one meter away from him. “Our Cevdet [Kılıçlar], he is a press member. He has become a martyr. All he was doing was taking pictures. They smashed his skull into pieces. We soon made out that these were real bullets they were firing. Rubber bullets also kill because you shoot at very close range, between one-and-a-half and two meters.”
Kevin Ovenden of Britain, an activist on the ship that arrived in İstanbul on Thursday, also said a man who had pointed a camera at the soldiers was shot directly through the forehead with live ammunition, with the exit wound blowing away back of his skull.
There were also claims that Israeli official reports on the number of people killed are untruthful. Yıldırım said, “Until now they have returned nine dead bodies, but our list is bigger. There are people missing.” Speaking to journalists at Atatürk International Airport shortly after his return, Yıldırım said: “We saw 38 injured who were brought back to us by doctors after the attack. Now they are saying there are 21 people who have been injured.” Yıldırım was on the main passenger ship, the Mavi Marmara, which the Israeli navy attacked at the start of its raid.
Another witness, Yücel Köse, who was on the ship Gazze repeated Yıldırım’s allegations of missing people. “The Mavi Marmara was bombed right in front of our eyes. They threw the wounded into the water,” he said. Köse said the soldiers were upset when some of their men were held by activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.