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Pressure Grows on Israel Following Flotilla Raid

VOA, June 1, 2010

Pressure is growing on Israel after its commandos raided a flotilla of aid ships that were trying to break a blockade on Gaza and killed at least nine activists.

Israel has begun sending home some of the nearly 700 pro-Palestinian activists who were aboard the vessels.

Some of those released, including one Turkish man, spoke of the violence they witnessed during the Monday raid at sea.  He says the commandos came down from helicopters and attacked the activists. He said the commandos first warned the activists, who had told the soldiers they were not armed.

Israeli officials point to video that shows activists hitting the commandos with iron bars and chairs and say the soldiers acted in self-defense.  

About 600 activists are still in custody. Israeli authorities say some may be prosecuted for attacking the commandos.

Israel faces mounting pressure, both abroad and at home, with members of the Israeli opposition raising questions about the legality of the operation.

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