Israel’s storming of humanitarian aid ships bound for Gaza has been condemned by both diplomatic friends and foes alike.
Commandos boarded the largest ship from the six-vessel convoy during an operation in which at least ten people died.
700 pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tonnes of aid were onboard the flotilla, which was organised by an Istanbul-based human rights group.
The operation had been widely criticised by the international community.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy called it “a disproportionate use of force”, while Russia said it was a “crude violation of international law.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad said the “inhumane” acts would lead to Israel’s demise.
Turkey, traditionally Israel’s strongest Muslim ally, immediately withdrew its ambassador to the country.
But Israeli navy chief Eli Marom said their troops acted in self-defence.
“During the boarding of the Mavi Marmara ship there were about 600 passengers on board,” he said.
“The soldiers were attacked with weapons and firearms, which posed a serious threat to their lives. They had to defend themselves to prevent these people from killing them.”
Organisers of the flotilla said at least 30 people were wounded in the incident.
Israel says 10 of its soldiers were injured, one seriously.