Israel faced a diplomatic firestorm Monday over its deadly attack against a protest flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
Foreign leaders and protest organizers accused Israel of using excessive force in the raid in international waters, but Israel defended its actions, saying that soldiers were ambushed with knives and metal bars, as well as handguns wrested from the commandos.
Israel’s military said nine protesters were killed in the late-night raid, which occurred about 40 miles off Israel’s coast. Protest organizers put the death toll at 16. Dozens were wounded, including seven Israeli soldiers.
Video of the attack released by the Israeli military, Turkish television and other media sources depicted a dramatic high-seas brawl in which Israeli commandos rappelled from helicopters onto a ship and immediately clashed with activists on board.
Below is the Video released by the Israeli Military as telecast on Fox News.
Responding to the brewing crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short his visit to Canada to return to Israel and canceled a much-anticipated White House visit with President Obama.
U.S. officials expressed regret at the loss of life but stopped short of criticizing Israel until full details of the incident were released.