Thursday, June 03, 2010

Interview with flotilla survivor

Kevin Ovenden explains:

"At 4.25am the attack began. The warship had neared and commandoes were lowering themselves onto the deck from helicopters. There were two motorised dinghies, carrying 14-20 commandoes, on either side of the boat.

"It was clear they were armed – it was the equivalent to an SAS raid. They were all wearing paramilitary style balaclavas.

"The first soldiers landed on the roof of the ship, people responded instinctively with their bare hands and things you would find on a ship – pieces of wood and piping and so on. No sharp objects were used.

Two soldiers were overpowered and pushed below deck. They were disarmed to prevent further injury or death.

"The attack opened with percussion grenades.

"These don’t just make a noise but send shockwaves of heavy vibration. They were trying to create terror and panic.

"They also used rubber coated bullets in the earlier stage. But very quickly they turned to live rounds and we were taking heavy casualties.

"Niki Enchmarch was on the top deck standing next to a Turkish man who was holding a camera. An Israeli soldier shot him in the middle of the forehead. It blew off the back of his skull and he died.

"I was on the second deck. A man standing a metre in front of me was shot in the leg, the man to the right of me in the abdomen. There was pandemonium and terror.

"The youngest person on the ship was not yet a year old, the eldest 88. The crew included German and Egyptian parliamentarians, NGO workers and representatives from various charities. This is who Israel was targeting.

"While they opened fire we struggled in our defence and to limit the massacre.

"They attacked with lethal force to terrorise the movement for the end of the siege of Gaza and the wider movement of solidarity with Palestine. They used violence to instill terror for political ends. This is the definition of terrorism."