One of the prominent Palestinians taken prisoner when the Israeli navy hijacked the Mavi Marvara on Monday morning has called the assault an act of "great stupidity" on the part of the Israeli government. Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 [Israel], released a statement from his prison cell which said, "The Israeli government committed an act of great stupidity, perhaps the worst in the history of all governments of Israel, resulting in a crime involving mass murder, the wounding of more than 50 civilians and the kidnapping of 700 people from 40 countries from a ship sailing in international waters."
In the statement published on the Islamic Movement's website, Sheikh Salah added, "Israel hijacked the ship, which is nothing short of piracy, and now finds itself trying to justify its failure, using lies to cover its tracks and defend itself in the face of domestic and international criticism."
According to Shaikh Salah, the participants were on board the Freedom Flotilla at the invitation of the Free Gaza movement. His own participation had been approved by a senior committee of the Islamic Movement. At all times, he stressed, the campaigners were "Free Gaza's guests"
Commenting on the rumours that he had been martyred during the Israeli assault, Sheikh Salah said, "Such accounts fit with Israeli attempts to assassinate me; this would not be the first time that they have tried to kill me."