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Argument: Israeli troops fired first, flotilla reacted in self-defense

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"Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists." Guardian. June 1, 2010: "Survivors of the Israeli assault on a flotilla carrying relief supplies to Gaza returned to Greece and Turkey today, giving the first eyewitness accounts of the raid in which at least 10 people died. [...] Arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk airport with her one-year-old baby, Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin said Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the Turkish-flagged ferry Mavi Marmara, which was the scene of the worst clashes and all the fatalities. Israeli officials have said that the use of armed force began when its boarding party was attacked. [...] 'It was extremely bad and very tough clashes took place. The Mavi Marmara is filled with blood,' said Cetin, whose husband is the Mavi Marmara's chief engineer. [...] She told reporters that she and her child hid in the bathroom of their cabin during the confrontation. 'The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn't stop these warnings turned into an attack,' she said. 'There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters.'"


Al Jazeera journalist Jamal Elshayyal, aboard the Mavi Marmara, said "the first shots that were fired were either some sort of sound grenades...there was tear gas that was fired, as well as rubber-coated steel bullets...the live fire came roughly five minutes after that." He continued that "one of the passengers who was on the side of the deck holding a water hose, trying to hose off, if you will, the advancing Israeli Navy, was shot in his arm..." He stated, "There is no doubt from what I saw that live ammunition was fired before any Israeli soldier was on deck." and that two persons were shot and killed before the soldiers had started boarding.[86] According to Elshayyal, three persons also died while passengers including a Knesset member, tried in vain to make the soldiers help the wounded.

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