Below the ship which was attacked and a link to a Turkish news program to see the live feed.
Israeli Commandos Attack Gaza Aid Convoy
Israeli commandos on Monday stormed six ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists on an aid mission to the blockaded Gaza Strip, setting off fierce battles in which at least four people were killed and dozens were wounded.
There were conflicting accounts of what happened.
The Israeli military said at least four pro-Palestinian activists were killed after attacking naval commandos with knives and clubs as they boarded the six vessels. It said soldiers opened fire after a protester grabbed a weapon from one of the commandos. "The people on the boats were very, very violent toward the soldiers," said Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich.
The army said dozens of people were wounded, both soldiers and activists, and it was evacuating the casualties from the Mediterranean by helicopter.
Al-Jazeera, meanwhile, reported by telephone from the Turkish ship leading the flotilla that Israeli navy forces fired at the ship and boarded it, wounding the captain.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry, citing "preliminary information," said at least two people were killed and more than 30 wounded. Turkey's NTV, which had a reporter on board one of the ships, also said two were killed.
NTV showed activists beating one Israeli soldier with sticks as he rappelled from a helicopter onto one of the boats.
A Turkish website showed video of pandemonium on board one of the ships, with activists in orange life jackets running around as some tried to help an activist apparently unconscious on the deck. The site also showed video of an Israeli helicopter flying overhead and Israeli warships nearby.
There were no details on the identities of the casualties, or on the conditions of some of the more prominent people on board, including a Nobel peace laureate and an elderly Holocaust survivor. Satellite phones on board the ships were turned off, and communication with a small group of reporters embedded with the Israeli military was blocked.
In Turkey, which had unofficially supported the aid mission, news of the attack sparked violent protests. Police blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the Israeli raid and said it was summoning the Israeli ambassador for an "urgent explanation." It says Israel violated international law and will suffer consequences. The Israeli military denied its forces attacked the boats, saying soldiers were under orders only to use fire if their lives were in danger.
Some 700 pro-Palestinian activists were on the boats, including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 85.
The flotilla, which includes three cargo ships and three passenger ships, is trying to draw attention to Israel's blockade of Gaza, home to 1.5 million Palestinians. The boats are carrying items that Israel bars from reaching Gaza, like cement and other building materials. The activists said they also were carrying hundreds of electric-powered wheelchairs, prefabricated homes and water purifiers.
The head of the Gaza Hamas government, Ismail Haniyeh, condemned the "brutal" Israeli attack. "We call on the secretary-general of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, to shoulder his responsibilities to protect the safety of the solidarity groups who were on board these ships and to secure their way to Gaza," said Mr. Haniyeh.
The reports came just after daybreak, with the flotilla still well away from the Gaza shore. Israel had declared it wouldn't allow the ships to reach Gaza.
The violent takeover threatened to deal yet another blow to Israel's international image, already tarnished by war-crimes accusations in Gaza and its three-year-old blockade of the impoverished Palestinian territory.
The flotilla began the journey from international waters off the coast of the east Mediterranean island of Cyprus on Sunday afternoon after two days of delays.
After nightfall Sunday, three Israeli navy missile boats left their base in Haifa, steaming out to sea to confront the ships. Two hours later, Israel Radio broadcast a recording of one of the missile boats warning the flotilla not to approach Gaza. "If you ignore this order and enter the blockaded area, the Israeli navy will be forced to take all the necessary measures in order to enforce this blockade," the radio message continued.
This is the ninth time that the Free Gaza movement, an international group of pro-Palestinian activists, has tried to ship in humanitarian aid to Gaza since August 2008. Israel has let ships through five times, but has blocked them from entering Gaza waters since a three-week military offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers in January 2009. The latest flotilla was the largest to date.
Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade on Gaza after Hamas militants violently seized control of the seaside territory in June 2007.
Israel says the measures are needed to prevent Hamas, which has fired thousands of rockets at Israel, from building up its arsenal. But United Nations officials and international aid groups say the blockade has been counterproductive, failing to weaken the Islamic militant group while devastating the local economy.
Israel rejects claims of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, saying it allows more than enough food and medicine into the territory. The Israelis also point to the bustling smuggling industry along Gaza's southern border with Egypt, which has managed to bring consumer goods, gasoline and livestock into the seaside strip.
Even as futures are feeling buoyant as a result of the JPY drop following the collapse of the Japanese ruling coalition (which in itself will likely spell serious JGB troubles in the days ahead), Middle-east geopolitical issues have once resurfaced... or technically submerged as the case may be. The Sunday Times reports that "three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline." Presumably, this a defensive move: "The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers. The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels." We are not sure Iran will take the news with the required dose of stoic acceptance. But at least we now have confirmation that Israeli subs are not being used by the Obama administration as a means of delivering nuclear armaments to the continental shelf (unless this too, is another Criss Angelesque Emmanuel Rahm masterpiece).
More from the Times:
The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”
Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile.
The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week. Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.
The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. “We’re a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place,” said a flotilla officer.
The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. “The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” said a navy officer.
It now seems that the Middle East is dead set on repeating the recent submarine-centric Korean festivites pretty much verbatim. Iran's reaction is not all that surprising:
Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”
The most troubling thing is that events in the Persian Gulf are moving much faster and politicians risk to lose all control imminently: precisely the stuff market melt ups are not made of.
Israel’s urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, will emphasise the danger to Obama in Washington this week.
Tel Aviv, Israel’s business and defence centre, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. “There are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,” he said.
If that is indeed the case, one wonders what the logic of an act such as this one reported by Wire Update is: "Reports say Israeli ships attack Gaza aid flotilla. At least several people were killed and scores of others were left injured after Israeli ships clashed with six ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists and aid for Gaza, according to news reports on early Monday." A livestream of the attack on Turkish aid ships in international water via CNN Turkey can be seen here.
Is Israel now actively seeking not only to wage war, but a two-fronted one at that? (did not work out too well last time this was attempted). We don't know, although with bizarro futures, where the ES reacts inversely to what fundamentals suggest, look for another 100 points S&P move higher even with US markets close, as the world inches one step closer to nuclear war.