ICRC says granted access to aid flotilla detainees
The international Red Cross revealed Tuesday that it has been granted access to activists from the Gaza-bound aid flotilla who have been detained by Israeli authorities.
"Our priority now is to check on the condition and whereabouts of the people wounded and of those detained by the Israeli authorities," said Pierre Wettach, head of delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in a statement.
"We have been granted access to dozens of activists from the convoy of ships now being held by the Israeli authorities, and we are re-establishing contact with their families," he added.
Israeli commandos boarded one of the aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip in the pre-dawn raid on Monday that left at least nine passengers dead and sparked global outrage. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists were also arrested.
The ICRC said it has offered to act as a neutral intermediary for citizens from countries that have no diplomatic ties with Israel.
Deploring the loss of civilian lives in the interception, the ICRC said the "high number of casualties raises serious questions concerning the methods and means used by the Israel Defense Forces to prevent the flotilla from proceeding to Gaza."
© 2010 AFP