As more of the facts emerge, it is now becoming clear that the massacre on board the Mavi Marmara, was a massacre of middle-aged men. Ibrahim Bilgen, 61, Çetin Topçuoglu, 54, Cengiz Songür, 47, Fahri Yaldiz, 43, Cengiz Akyüz, 41, Ali Haydar Bengi, 39, Cevdet Kiliçlar, 38, Necdet Yildirim, 32. Only one was under thirty — the nineteen-year-old and American-born, Furkan Dogan.
The testimony of survivors suggests that most of the victims were targets of indiscriminate violence. Six of the dead were killed by a single Israeli commando who is now in line for a medal of valor.
Al Jazeera reported:
Sadreddin Furkan was another volunteer up with the captain when soldiers from the helicopter came to take over the bridge. They shot him three times in one leg and again on the other foot. “They were shooting in all directions. I felt a deep pain in my leg. It began bleeding. They shot me from behind.”
Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.
Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.
The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.
The findings emerged as more survivors gave their accounts of the raids. Ismail Patel, the chairman of Leicester-based pro-Palestinian group Friends of al-Aqsa, who returned to Britain today, told how he witnessed some of the fatal shootings and claimed that Israel had operated a “shoot to kill policy”.
He calculated that during the bloodiest part of the assault, Israeli commandos shot one person every minute. One man was fatally shot in the back of the head just two feet in front him and another was shot once between the eyes. He added that as well as the fatally wounded, 48 others were suffering from gunshot wounds and six activists remained missing, suggesting the death toll may increase.
The new information about the manner and intensity of the killings undermines Israel’s insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists.
“Given the very disturbing evidence which contradicts the line from the Israeli media and suggests that Israelis have been very selective in the way they have addressed this, there is now an overwhelming need for an international inquiry,” said Andrew Slaughter MP, a member of the all party group on Britain and Palestine.
Six of the nine passengers killed in an Israeli raid on an aid convoy bound for Gaza were shot by a single Israeli commando, who is being considered for a medal of valour for saving his injured comrades as passengers attacked them with clubs, knives and even guns they had taken from downed Navy Seals.
Identified for security reasons only as Staff Sergeant S, he said that contrary to initial Israeli Army reports, the shooting had started within minutes as he and his comrades were set upon by a “mob of mercenaries”.
As he landed on the ship’s top deck, he said he saw three of his superior officers who had landed ahead of him lying wounded, one with a bullet wound to the stomach, another shot in the knee and the third beaten unconscious.
Taking charge, he formed his men in a perimeter around the wounded, pulled his 9mm Glock pistol and opened fire on passengers he accused of shooting at the boarding party with guns taken off the first soldiers, who had been overwhelmed as they landed one by one.
Yesterday, however, we were informed by a navy officer that navy commandos don’t carry 9mm guns, and that the empty 9mm casings were proof that the humanitarian activists had brought guns with them. Oops, someone forgot to tell Sergeant S.