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13 years since Israel's attack on the Gaza-bound aid ship the Mavi Marmara

May 31, 2023 at 9:21 am

Turkish ship Mavi Marmara taking part in the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ heading towards the Gaza Strip on May 28, 2010 [Free Gaza Movement/AFP via Getty Images]

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the massacre carried out by the Israeli occupation’s naval forces against the Freedom Flotilla as it was on its way to break the siege on Gaza in 2010.

The Freedom Flotilla included several ships, including the Turkish Mavi Marmara, which was carrying more than 500 activists, most of them Turkish, and three other ships belonging to the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG).

Among the people who participated in the first Freedom Flotilla were Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic movement in the Palestinian interior, Haneen Zoabi, a member of the Israeli Knesset at the time, parliamentarians from Germany, Ireland, Egypt and Yemen, artists and writers from Sweden, and media professionals from several countries.

Mavi Marmara Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Mavi Marmara – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The flotilla departed from the ports of Turkiye and countries in southern Europe, heading first to Limassol, south of Cyprus, and then setting sail towards Gaza.

However, the Mavi Marmara, one of the most main ships of the flotilla, was attacked in international waters on 31 May 2010 by Israeli naval commandos who used live bullets and tear gas, preventing the flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip.

The occupation forces began contacting the ship’s crew at 10:30pm on 30 May, while it was  in international waters. The crew told them that they were heading to Gaza and that they were in international waters and no party had the right to stop them. Contact was then cut off at about 2am on 31 May.

The attack began at 4:30am with a barrage of live bullets, resulting in casualties and injuries.

According to the report of the Medical Examination Institute, the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara ship killed ten people and injured 56, most of them Turks.

The attack drew widespread international criticism, and officials from around the world called on the UN to conduct an investigation. The Israeli prime minister cancelled his trip to the US during which he was scheduled to meet then-President Barack Obama, and returned to the occupied territories from Canada.

READ: Gaza activists prepare new flotilla to break Israel siege

Israel rejected calls from the UN and governments around the world for an international investigation into the attack on the aid flotilla.

Thirteen years later, the Gaza Strip is still suffering from a strict siege which has been exacerbated by the destruction caused by numerous Israeli air raids causing destruction which cannot be cleared up or see buildings re-established because of the limitations on the entry of basic supplies.

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