More details come out about the massacre on the Mavi Marmara as some of the activists return home to Turkey. Some people were shot point-blank while not threatening the soldiers, some wounded were thrown overboard, and blood evidence was washed off the ship by the Israeli forces.
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.
19-year-old Furkan Doğan was killed by four bullets to the head -- all fired at close range -- and one bullet into his chest, also fired at close range. He said Doğan was studying at a private high school in Kayseri and hoped to become a doctor in the future.
The council also confirmed yesterday that eight of the nine bodies brought back from Israel belong to Turkish citizens. The ninth person was identified as a US citizen of Turkish origin. More than 500 activists who were brought to Turkey were examined on Thursday by 120 forensic medicine experts and their assistants.
People thrown into the sea
Activist İdris Şimşek, who also arrived on Thursday, claims that four wounded activists were thrown into the sea. Şimşek also stated that there was immense psychological pressure on the activists. Şimşek said they expected some harassment but had no inkling of what would happen, noting that they were not expecting an armed attack. He also mentioned that there were no weapons, including a small Swiss army knife that some foreign press organs claimed was on the ship. He stated, as many other activists have, that the person who was waving a white flag to surrender was shot by soldiers. He said that he saw many people lying in puddles of blood after the soldiers opened fire.
Erol Demir, another activist on the Mavi Marmara, said they had footage of the chaos and the carnage on the ship, emphasizing that the footage will show the real face of Israeli solders to the entire world. “They even shot those who surrendered. Many of our friends saw this. They told me that there were handcuffed people who were shot.” All activists stated that Israeli helicopters sprayed cold seawater onto the ship for three hours.
Hakan Albayrak, a journalist from the Yeni Şafak daily who was also on the ship, said: “It was an outright massacre what Israel did out there. They attacked us in international waters. We protected our ship. We had no weapons. I think we lost more people.”
Activist Özlem Şahin Ermiş said 60 soldiers took her hostage. The prisoners were harassed by violent attack dogs and some were badly bitten. She also noted that they were not fed any food or given anything to drink during their initial interrogation on the ship.
Israel admits it sabotaged ships:
Cyprus, June 4, 2010) On Tuesday,, Colonel Itzik Tourgeman told the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that two more ships are on their way to try and break the naval blockade of Gaza. The head of research in the operations division said, "The ships have not reached their target as of today because covert action was taken against them." http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/187299
We had suspicions about our two boats, Challenger 1 and 2 and their mechanical problems as they sailed toward the flotilla, but we were not going to say anything unless we could prove it. Turns out we didn't have to prove it. Israeli mouthpieces did.
The Guardian ran a piece the same day, saying,
Matan Vilnai, the deputy defence minister, was asked on Israel Radio whether there had not been a smarter alternative to direct assault. He answered that "all possibilities had been considered," adding: "The fact is that there were less than the 10 ships that were due to participate in the flotilla."
An unnamed Israeli Defence Force source who briefed the Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee on the widely criticized armed interception of the flotilla at sea, also spoke of "grey operations" being mounted against the flotilla."
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