SABRINA TAVERNISE and MICHAEL SLACKMAN
June 3, 2010
One of the nine people killed in an Israeli commando raid on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza this week was a United States citizen of Turkish descent, officials in Turkey and Washington said Thursday.
The development added a new diplomatic complexity as Israel struggled to defuse rising international anger over its raid on six ships seeking to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip, where officials from the Hamas movement were reported on Thursday to be resisting Israeli efforts to deliver truckloads of goods seized from the flotilla.
The bodies of the nine dead were flown to Turkey overnight along with hundreds of activists, many of them Turks, who were detained when the Israeli Navy towed the ships to shore on Monday. Israel said Thursday that all but about 10 activists had been released, part of an effort to prevent further diplomatic damage. But as processions of coffins bearing the dead wound through a devout neighborhood of Istanbul on Thursday, accompanied by thousands of Turkish mourners, public anger here seemed undiminished.
“Turkey will never forgive this attack,” President Abdullah Gul said on NTV television. “Turkish-Israeli relations can never be as before from now on.”