More aid boats planned for Gaza, say Spanish activists

4th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Three Spaniards who were with the Gaza aid flotilla that was attacked by Israel said Friday activists were preparing to send more ships with humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian enclave.

"We spoke in Istanbul with the rest of our European colleagues about the possibility of sending ships to Gaza in the coming months, some of them possibly from Barcelona," aid worker Manuel Tapial told reporters.

"Maybe in a few months we will be able to say exactly when and with whom," he added.

Tapial was deported from Israel along with Laura Arau, another member of an NGO called Culture, Peace and Solidarity, and David Segarra, a journalist with Venezuelan television station Telesur.

The three arrived in Spain from Istanbul, where hundreds of activists who had been on the vessels were sent after being detained by Israel.

Israel sparked international outrage when its commandos on Monday attacked a fleet of aid ships bound for Gaza.

They killed nine people during the raid and then forced the six ships in the convoy to dock at an Israeli port, before detaining those on board.

Tapial said organisers of the so-called Freedom Flotilla will take legal action against the Israeli government "for crimes against humanity, attacking civilians, for piracy... to put an end to their impunity."

A French charity, the Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians whose members were part of the aid flotilla, said Friday that it had lodged a legal complaint against Israel for kidnapping, false imprisonment, armed violence and ship hijacking.

Segarra said Israeli forces seized all cameras from those on board the aid flotilla as well as any work done by the many journalists who were on board.

"We were handcuffed and kidnapped for several days in international waters and 800 people, including 40 international media outlets and European and Arab lawmakers, were taken to prison illegally. It was an attack against 50 nations in the Mediterranean," he added.

The three Spaniards also called for Israel's ambassador to Spain, Raphael Schutz, to be kicked out of Spain and banned from the entire 27-nation European Union after he compared the deaths of members of the aid flotilla to traffic accident deaths, according to public radio RNE.

Israel has said the commandos opened fire after they came under attack. Their officials say 682 people from 42 countries were on the six ships.

© 2010 AFP

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