One Briton injured in Gaza aid flotilla interception: minister

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One Briton was injured when Israeli troops intercepted a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday, as he called for an independent inquiry into the incident.

Hague said British officials had been allowed to see the injured British national, and the Foreign Office was seeking access to any other Britons caught up in the storming of one of the ships which killed at least nine people.

"So far we have been given access to one UK national who was injured, we don't know yet for certain about any deaths," Hague told journalists.

"We know there may have been UK nationals who have been detained and we are seeking consular access."

It is not known how many Britons were on board the vessel that was stormed.

Hague said "the British government deeply deplores the loss of life."

"It is very important that Israel acts with restraint and in line with international obligations in any case such as this," he said.

"We will all want to know whether more could have been done to minimise the risks or to reduce the number of deaths and injuries.

"That is why we agree with our EU partners, and other international partners, that there must be a full, and impartial and independent investigation or inquiry into these events."

Hague said it was also a reminder of the necessity to find a durable resolution of the Gaza conflict, adding: "It is important... that Israel allows unfettered access for aid to Gaza."

The minister earlier called the restrictions on aid entering the Palestinian territories "unacceptable and counter-productive".

Israel has faced international outrage over the storming of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli troops had acted to "defend their lives."

© 2010 AFP

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