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Defiant Israel Says Will Halt New Bid to Bust Gaza Blockade
06-01-2010, 05:46 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-01-2010, 05:48 PM by joeblow.)
Information  Defiant Israel Says Will Halt New Bid to Bust Gaza Blockade
Defiant Israel Says Will Halt New Bid to Bust Gaza Blockade
01/06/2010 03:30:08 PM GMT

Israel, still reeling from a botched commando raid on an international aid flotilla which killed at least nine activists, warned Tuesday it will halt a new bid to breach its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The warning came as Israeli police jailed or deported hundreds of activists after commandos boarded their Gaza-bound vessels in international waters on Monday in a bloody pre-dawn raid which sparked global outrage. "We will not let any ships reach Gaza and supply what has become a terrorist base threatening the heart of Israel," Israeli deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai told public radio.

Vilnai's remarks were made as organizers of the "Freedom Flotilla" said they were preparing to send two more aid boats to Gaza, despite the tragic ending to their high-profile mission to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Strip.

Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement told AFP a new attempt would be made to run the blockade but not for several days. "The Rachel Corrie (cargo ship) is currently located off the coast of Italy and the other boat is still being repaired," she said.

Monday's raid turned into a fiasco, with live footage from the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara showing black-clad Israeli commandos clashing with activists and several wounded people lying on the deck of the ship which was carrying hundreds of people.

The bloody ending to the humanitarian mission prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel a visit to Washington, where he had been due to hold talks with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Netanyahu expressed regret at the loss of life but insisted that the Israeli commandos had "defended themselves from a lynching" as they rappelled down from helicopters onto the ships.

Israel's ambassador to Britain Tuesday admitted however that the raid was not a success. "It's obvious, and I won't beat around the bush on this, that this wasn't successful," Ron Prosor told BBC radio, when asked if the raid had helped or hindered Israel. "I think that it clearly took up an issue that should have been solved differently."

Turkey said it was sending three ambulance planes to the Zionist entity to bring home 20 of its wounded nationals. At least four of the dead were Turkish and their killings plunged into crisis Israel's already fragile relations with Ankara.

Turkey recalled its ambassador and there were angry anti-Israeli protests in several Turkish cities.

-- Al Manar

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