Israeli soldiers describe raid on Gaza aid convoy
- 3 June 2010
- From the section Middle East
Israeli soldiers have been giving their account of what happened when they boarded the Gaza-bound flotilla.
They said troops acted in self-defence after they were attacked while boarding the Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara.
The activists say that as well as firing live and plastic rounds, commandos administered electric shocks and beat passengers during the assault.
IDF CAPTAIN ARYE SHALICAR
Captain Arye Shalicar was part of the operation.
"From 10pm to 4am... the Israeli army, again and again, asked the flotilla to please not approach Israel, to not continue sailing in the direction of Gaza," he said.
"When the soldiers went on board in order to take over the ship… they were attacked violently by... extremists... attacking the Israeli soldiers with metal rocks, with knives - and tried to lynch them basically."
ANONYMOUS IDF SOLDIER
In an IDF video posted on YouTube, an anonymous Israeli soldier says his arm was broken while he tried to defend himself.
"We were above the ship hovering above it. We understood there were 15 people on the roof," he said.
"They took [another soldier], tied him to one of the antennas. We came down using the other rope, one by one, and every guy that descended was met by three or four people.
"And they just started beating him up, tearing him to pieces. It was a lynch.
"Every guy that came down the ropes was taken aside, and everyone there had metal rods, knives, sling shots, glass bottles. At one point there was live fire... two guys there had live ammunition.
"They started hitting me with metal rods, and while defending myself, I guess I broke my arm.
"At this point, I didn't even have a weapon in my hands. Any soldier coming down the ropes did not have a gun in his hands. We were empty-handed, our guns were on our backs.
"It's important to clarify that the weapons were riot dispersal means, we had paintball guns.
"They just came prepared for battle. We came prepared to straighten things out, talk to them, convince them to unboard the ship."
ANONYMOUS IDF SOLDIER
An Israeli soldier, quoted in the Jerusalem Post, boarded the Mavi Marmara with other soldiers.
"As the 15 of us slid down the ropes, 30 of them were waiting for us on the deck," he said.
"They charged us and threw a few of the soldiers off the deck to the floor below. We did not expect to find ourselves in such a situation."