Monday, May 31, 2010

Eyewitness account from IDF Soldier: Passengers on Gaza-bound flotilla shot at us the entire time

One of the Israeli soldiers injured while intercepting the Mavi Marama ship gives an eye witness account of how his group was beaten and lynched. “We came to speak, they came to fight."

From the Israeli Defense Forces' website:
One of the Naval Special Forces soldiers, who participated in the interception of the Mavi Marama ship and sustained a broken arm while under attack by the ship’s passengers, described the events. “Each soldier who descended was taken by three or four men and they simply exploded, beating him up. They lynched us. They had metal clubs, knives, slingshots, glass bottles… At one point there was also live fire.

“I was among the last to descend, and I saw that the group was dispersed, everyone in his own corner surrounded by 3 or 4 men, I saw a soldier on the floor with two men beating him. I peeled them off of him and they came at me and began beating me with the clubs. That’s how I broke my arm. At that moment I had no weapon in my hands, like everyone else who descended on the cables empty-handed. My paintball gun was behind me.
They were carrying paintball guns in their hands! Unbelievable!
“They came and attacked me, I brought them down to the floor, I took a few steps back, I took out my paintball gun, they came at me, and I shot at their legs. One of the clubs destroyed my paint gun and I moved on to my pistol which was the only thing to hold against them. At this point my arm no longer functioned.”

“From the opening of the corridor, they were shooting at us the entire time with live fire".

The naval soldier described how the soldiers were shot at from the entrance to the ship’s corridor: “I saw two from my group lying flat on the ground. From the opening of the corridor they were shooting at them the entire time with live fire, bullets. We identified a gun barrel, and one of us shot at the guy holding it. Afterwards we entered and he wasn’t there. About 30 men, they simply came for war. We came to straighten things out, to speak to those who went downstairs, but each of us who descended was simply attacked.”

“There were some from my group that were thrown to the lower floor, and the passengers took their equipment... We were told that if they didn’t listen, we should shoot at their legs with the paintball gun. 'The pistol is only for if you really feel your life is in danger, which shouldn’t happen. It would be extremely abnormal.' But in the end, that is what happened.”

“We came with the intention of stopping the ship and taking it to Ashdod, and we did not come with the weapons we usually have, we came for something entirely different.”
If the IDF deserves any condemnation for yesterday's clash, it would be for allowing its soldiers to enter a dangerous battle zone carrying paintball guns while the real guns were slung behind their shoulders. Foolish, indeed! The IDF was lucky that no soldiers were killed - although several were wounded. Next time around, they may not be so lucky.

The following video contains part of the aforementioned interview, it begins approximately 51 seconds into the video. I am not sure if there's a video out there that has the entire interview:

From Israel National News:

A crew member reportedly snatched a gun from an IDF soldier and then opened fire on the troops. Another soldier was stabbed in the stomach. The soldier is in moderate condition and was transferred for medical treatment by helicopter to Rambam Hospital in Haifa. Doctors there determined he would require surgery.

Also see: Video footage of a passenger on Gaza-bound flotilla stabbing Israeli
soldier with a knife

Also see: Gaza Freedom Flotilla Organizers Linked To Al Qaeda and Worldwide Terrorism

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