The ships had been coming to ease their suffering after three years of an Israeli-imposed siege. Instead, they now lie in an Israeli port having been hijacked in a murderous assault by Israeli commandos in international waters. The people of Gaza have reacted to the news of the attack on their Freedom Flotilla with anger.
The Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, has called on the international community to stand against Israel and for the UN Security Council to meet as soon as possible. A general strike has been called in Gaza and the West Bank in protest at Israel's illegal action against the ships carrying humanitarian aid and hundreds of activists in an attempt to break the siege.
Thousands of people from all factions took to the streets of Gaza in protest as news of the attack on the ships filtered through. Expressing their solidarity with the peace activists now being held in custody by Israel, the people of Gaza denounced the killings of their colleagues and prayed for the wounded. They also called on the world to break the siege of Gaza to show Israel that it cannot act with impunity in such matters.
Many of the crowd carried pictures of popular Palestinian campaigner Shaikh Raed Salah, who was on board one of the ships and was wounded during the assault.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad