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At Gaza flotilla funeral in Turkey, rising anger and eyewitness accounts

Turkish leaders built on earlier condemnations of Israel's attack on the Gaza flotilla, while mourners offered eyewitness accounts that contradicted Israel's version of events.
 

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Images of the raid released by Israel – some of it the confiscated video from the activists themselves – showed homemade slingshots and bags of marbles, as well as wooden clubs, wrenches, and an array of more than two dozen knives (many of them kitchen knives) they say were found on board the Mavi Marmara. Infrared footage shown by the Israeli military of the commandos fast-roping onto the deck from a helicopter showed them being beaten by iron bars and sticks, and one soldier apparently being dropped to a lower deck.

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Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch told Al Jazeera English that the Israeli raiders were acting in self-defense: “Any metal bar pointed at someone’s head could kill, and if we’re talking about hundreds of metal bars, as well as dozens of knives, these are not tools used to cut salad.”

She said that two pistols taken by the activists from the commandos were used against the second set of landing Israeli soldiers. Activists say Israeli gunshot wounds were caused by “friendly fire” – the same thing that accounted for a number of Israeli military casualties during the 2008-09 war in Gaza.

“Once the soldiers saw knives, metal rods, chains, and broken bottles and they were shot at, they shot back and killed nine of them,” said Israel military spokesman Arye Shalicar, according to Reuters.

Swedish author decries Israeli 'nonsense'

The Israeli claims that activists had made more than cursory preparations for resistance do not appear to be supported by the images so far officially released by Israel.

Activists said they had no weapons, but also had no choice but to resist a military raid in international waters that, they say, amounted to piracy. The Israelis fired first and activists, some of them wearing gas masks, say they fought back with what came to hand, including makeshift clubs and plastic chairs.

“However much the Israelis are screaming that they have found weapons, it is just nonsense,” said Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell, who was on a Swedish-Greek ship called Sofia – not the Mavi Marmara, where the fatal assault took place.

“On the ship where I was, they found one weapon and that was my safety razor, and they actually came forward and showed that,” Mr. Mankell told Swedish radio, according to the Associated Press.

IN PICTURES: The Gaza flotilla and the aftermath of the Israeli naval raid

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