JERUSALEM (AFP) – The Israeli army released footage on Monday of the resistance put up by pro-Palestinian activists as commandos stormed an aid ship headed to Gaza in an operation that has sparked a diplomatic furor.
Video images showed troops rappelling down to the deck of one of the vessels in the aid flotilla and coming under repeated attack by a group of people waving poles and chairs.
As a black-clad figure climbs down a rope from a chopper, someone on deck lobs a projectile at him and a group of baton-wielding passengers converge on him as he drops to the ground in chaotic scenes in which it appears that the passengers had the upper hand.
In the black-and-white footage, which appears to have been shot from a nearby vessel, at least six passengers can be seen on the deck of the vessel, repeatedly raising their sticks and forcefully hitting something or someone out of shot on the ground.
As the scenes of violence unfold, soldiers watching the operation from the nearby ship can be heard speaking in Hebrew. “They’re really beating them badly,” one says.
Among the crowd of at least 20 or so passengers milling around on the deck, at least two can be seen pushing one of the Israeli commandos over the railing onto a lower deck, pulling some kind of kit off his back as he falls.
“Wow, they’ve thrown a fighter over the edge,” another voice says. “They’ve just shoved him over.”
Another demonstrator can be seen waving a white chair over his head in the melee, which also shows one commando pointing what appears to be a paint-ball gun at the passengers.
Israel has come under furious attack from countries across the globe in the wake of the attack which left at least nine protesters dead, most of them reportedly Turkish.
Much of the criticism has focused on Israel’s use of live ammunition against the pro-Palestinian activists who were in international waters as they sought to run the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza since the Islamist Hamas movement seized control of the territory in 2007.
The following two videos were posted by IDF at Youtube:
The following video is from AFP: