Israel said its commandos were attacked by knives, clubs and live fire from two pistols wrested from soldiers after they rappelled from a helicopter to board one of the vessels.
There were conflicting accounts of what happened early Monday, with activists claiming the Israelis fired first and Israel insisting its forces fired in self defense. Communications to the ships were cut off shortly after the raid began.
An Israeli commando who spoke to reporters on a naval vessel off the coast, and who was identified only by the first letter of his name, "A," said he and his comrades were surprised by a group of Arabic-speaking men when they rapelled onto the deck.He said some of the soldiers, taken off guard, were stripped of their helmets and equipment and thrown from the top deck to the lower deck, and that some had even jumped overboard to save themselves. At one point one of the passengers seized one of the soldiers' weapons and opened fire.
A high-ranking naval official displayed a box confiscated from the boat containing switchblades, slingshots, metal balls and metal bats. "We prepared (the soldiers) to deal with peace activists, not to fight," he said. Most of the 10 dead were Turkish, he added.
"It was the strangest thing! There we were, just innocently rapelling down onto a non-combatant ship in international waters! And, it's like, these people just came out of nowhere and attacked us! What kind of savagery must we endure! Of course we had to open fire!"
Yeah, I'd say that dogshit nation is goin' down in PR flames over this one.
[Loud, strained whisper:] Don't forget! They fly planes into buildings!
As we investigate this incident, we will ignore all Israeli accounts of the event.