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May 31, 2010

Fate of 28 Britons unknown in Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla

The fate of 28 Britons among some 700 passengers about the humanitarian Gaza Freedom Flotilla going to Gaza remained unknown hours after it was attacked by Israeli commandoes in international water early Monday. 19 people have been killed, 10 of them Turkish and 26 injured, according to Israeli military sources.

The Muslim News criticised the slow reaction by the British Foreign Office, while countries like Spain, Sweden, Turkey and Greece have summoned Israeli ambassadors and the EU has called for an immediate inquiry.

Foreign Office spokesperson told The Muslim News that “our Embassy officials are seeking urgent clarification into the incident.”

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he was “profoundly shocked” at the killings. The European Union's Foreign Policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has called on Israeli authorities to launch a "full inquiry" into the killing.

Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he was "deeply concerned about the events last night in the waters off Gaza... these are disconcerting initial reports."

“Our Embassy officials are seeking urgent clarification into the incident,” was all an official spokesman was prepared to say when challenged about the attack that killed up to 15 passengers and injured some 30 others.

Turkey's foreign ministry warned of "irreparable consequences" after the incident. Some of the ships were sailing under Turkish flags and media reports indicate that Turkish nationals are among the dead.

"By targeting civilians, Israel has once again shown its disregard for human life and peaceful initiatives. We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“If such a raid was carried out by Iran, the Government would have condemned it outright. There was no concern shown for the safety of the 28 British citizens on board the ships by the FCO,” The Muslim News Editor Ahmed J Versi said. “One would have expected the Coalition Government to have been more forthright, especially since the Liberal Democrats usually spoke out against Israeli atrocities when they were in opposition.”

Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin has already expressed “grave concern” following Israel’s massacre with eight Irish nationals among the passengers. "The reports of up to 15 people killed and 50 injured, if confirmed, would constitute a totally unacceptable response by the Israeli military to what was a humanitarian mission attempting to deliver much needed supplies to the people of Gaza," Martin said.

Israeli military spokeswoman, Lt Col Avital Leibovich, told the media in Ashdod , Israel, Monday morning that the Israeli soldiers were “defending” themselves and acknowledged the raid was carried out in international waters. She attempted to justify that Israel has a right to board ships in international waters under International Maritime laws.

The humanitarian flotilla of eight ships were carrying 10,000 tons of aid which is attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

List of British citizens on Mavi Marmara where the Israeli raid took place: Laura Macdonald Stuart, Ebrahim Musaji, Jamal Sayed, PARVEEN YAQUB, Baboo ADEM Zanghar, Ahsan Shamruk, Mustafa Cengiz Ahmet, Tauqir Sharif, BOUDJEMA BOUNOUA,
Mohammad BOUNOUA, Sakir Yildirim, Kenneth O’Keefe, Ali El-Awaisi, Mohammed Bhaiyat, Lort Phillips Alexandra Mary, Sarah Nancy Colborne, Ismail Adam Patel, Nader Daher, Mahi Mohammed Abid,
Nur-E-Azom Choudhury, Ovenden Kevin, Peter Venner, Clifford Gardner Hanley, Muzzammil Layth Chogley, Jamaluddin Mohammad Farid Elshayyal, Hassan Al Banna Ghani, Lazrag Salah, Ali Altan,

There will be a peaceful protest outside 10 Downing Street at 2pm today against the British Government’s silence over the killings and calling on the Government for an “immediate intervention”.

Another demonstration is being held in Manchester at the BBC on Oxford Road at 5pm.

For further information contact us on 020 7608 2822 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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