Footage of soldiers being attacked by Mavi Marmara passengers
31 May 2010 , 09:59
IDF soldier is thrown from the top deck of the boat
An Israeli Naval soldier is thrown by demonstrators onboard the flotilla from the top deck by the ship. Photo:
While intercepting the Mavi Marmara ship, 7 soldiers were injured and 9 flotilla participants were killed. Upon boarding the ship the soldiers were attacked by the masses with knives, clubs, and live fire, and were forced to return fire.  The other ships cooperated with security forces.

Early Monday morning (May 31), Israeli Navy fighters intercepted six ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip and rejecting the warning calls by Israel and the Navy which were issued before the interception. They also ignored the invitation to anchor at the Ashdod port in order to transfer the humanitarian supplies using Israeli means.

On five of the six ships of the flotilla, the soldiers met without any resistance from the passengers, and the ships were brought to the Ashdod port where the passengers are cooperating with Israeli security forces.

During the boarding of the Mavi Marmara ship, the largest of the flotillas ships which held hundreds of people, the Israeli Navy soldiers were attacked with gunfire, stun grenades, knives, and clubs. The demonstrators stole two pistols from the soldiers and also used these to shoot at the soldiers.

Two soldiers were injured from the gunfire and an additional soldier suffered wounds after being stabbed by a knife. In total, seven Naval soldiers were injured. Four of these soldiers are currently categorized as in moderate condition, one is lightly injured, and two have been released from the hospital. Nine of the flotilla participants who were on board the Mavi Marmara ship were killed.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, the naval soldiers who were equipped with paintball guns in order to avoid using live fire, were forced to change their original plans, using first their riot dispersal means, followed by live fire.
The video clips taken at sea show how the first soldiers who boarded the ship using a cable from a helicopter are lynched by the ships passengers. They are attacked by a mass of people armed with metal pipes and chairs and one soldier is thrown from the ship. Additionally, the video shows passengers attacking the soldiers with a stun grenade and a Molotov cocktail, and attempting to capture one of the soldiers.

Those injured, Israeli and foreign, were all evacuated by helicopter from the heart of the sea to the Beilinson, Tel Hashomer, Hadassah Ein Kerem and Rambam hospitals, to receive medical treatment.
Chief of the General Staff, Let. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, spoke about these incidents in a press conference: Beyond all doubt, it is clear that this violence (of the activists on board the Mavi Marama ship) obligated the soldiers, in light of the danger to their lives, to operate their weapons. The soldiers operated in the manner that the situation demanded.

The ships are being brought to Ashdod

The ships bearing the flotilla participants were transferred to the Ashdod port for checks by security forces and the Oz unit of the Ministry of the Interior.  The equipment on board is being checked by the IDF and by sappers of the Israeli Police. The passengers were transferred to a chain of checks located at the port, and presented with two choices: leave Israel or be imprisoned.

Actions by the Israeli Navy were performed in accordance with the decision by upper political echelons to prevent the flotilla from arriving at the Gaza shore, thereby breaching the maritime closure.

The interception came after numerous appeals to governments, organizations, and flotilla organizers ahead of their departures, and also during their journeys towards the Gaza shore. In these appeals, it was clarified to the flotilla organizers that they would be able to anchor in the Ashdod port, unload their equipment and transfer it over to the Gaza Strip in an organized manner after it would undergo accepted security checks. When flotilla organizers made it clear that they had no intention of cooperating and accepting the invitation to the Ashdod port, it was decided to intercept the boats and to bring them to the Ashdod port.

As previously stated, the IDF forces were met with sever violence immediately upon arrival to the ship and operated in adherence to operational commands, taking all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.