Spain condemns deadly Israeli raid on Gaza aid flotilla

31st May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain, which holds the rotating EU presidency, condemned the Israeli army's raid on aid ships bound for Gaza Monday and summoned Israel's ambassador, the foreign ministry said.

The Spanish government "condemns the military action... which has claimed a high number of victims" and considers the raid "totally disproportionate", the ministry said in a statement.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero also voiced grave concern over the deaths of passengers on the flotilla of aid ships. According to Israeli television the latest toll was 19 passengers killed and 36 wounded.

"This is a very serious and worrying situation and as you know the (Israeli) ambassador has been summoned as we need to get more exact information," said Zapatero following a meeting in parliament.

Spain, which holds the European Union's presidency until the end of June, slammed the deadly Israeli operation on the aid convoy as "unacceptable", the country's secretary of state for European affairs, Diego Lopez Garrido, said.

"We are going to ask for explanations from Israel about this incident... and certainly we are going to investigate and concern ourselves immediately with this situation," Garrido said.

Garrido also said that he did not know about the nationalities of the victims although Spanish media was reporting that three Spaniards were on board the aid ships.

Several European lawmakers as individuals were known to be among the hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters on the flotilla of ships carrying aid to the Gaza Strip. The ships had set sail for the Palestinian territory on Sunday.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Israel to conduct "a thorough inquiry into the circumstances" of the raid, one of her spokesmen said.

© 2010 AFP

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