Activists arrested on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla have spoken of their ordeal after being deported by Israeli authorities to Turkey.
They were greeted by crowds at Istanbul’s main airport, who chanted slogans such as: “Zionist Israel, you will pay for this.”
With the detainees came the bodies of the nine activists, four of them Turks, killed by Israeli commandos. Five of the dead remain unidentified.
Reports in Turkey say two of the passengers are still in Israel receiving medical treatment. For the Turkish protesters, it was an emotional homecoming as they were reunited with their loved ones.
Foreign nationals said they were treated badly by the Israeli troops. German passenger Mario Darma said: “The trip was horrible. It was like the Third World War was beginning.”
Another activist, Dutchwoman Anna Dio, described the incident as “absolutely horrific.“
“We wanted to go to Gaza with humanitarian aid and instead we were attacked by military at night in the dark of night,” she said. “It was painful and it was shocking.”
The killing of Turkish nationals has strained relations between Israel and its only ally in the Muslim world.
Ankara has already withdrawn its envoy to the country and cancelled a planned series of joint military exercises.
Aid activists describe 'horrific' ordeal