About 40 Britons on board Gaza flotilla: London

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Around 40 Britons were aboard a flotilla of ships heading to Gaza on which nine people were killed in a raid by Israeli commandos, the Foreign Office said Tuesday.

"We believe there are roughly 40 British nationals involved in the flotilla, though given the confused situation, we are urgently trying to establish the exact figure, as well as make sure we have consular access to them all," a spokesman said.

As officials rushed for clarification, relatives of those on board spoke of their concern about the fate of their loved ones, who are thought to be in an Israeli detention centre.

"It's absolutely terrible not knowing what has happened to him and it's terrible that the British government hasn't done more but they don't want to fall out with Israel," said Rachel Bridgeland, whose partner Peter Venner was one of those on board.

"They should insist that the British people are allowed to phone us, they have done nothing illegal."

Agi Donovan, whose sister Ewa Jasiewicz was also on board, said she had heard nothing and hoped her sibling was safe.

"All of us in the family have been trying to call her... and nobody's been able to reach her," she said on BBC radio.

"There have been suggestions that the mobile phones of all the passengers have perhaps been confiscated so that could be a reason."

© 2010 AFP

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