The nine activists who died in an Israeli raid on aid ships bound for Gaza were shot dead, the Anatolia news agency reported today.

Forensic experts in Istanbul found bullet marks on the bodies of all the victims and determined that one was shot at close range.

The experts said the exact circumstances of the activists’ deaths would become clear in a balistics examination that would take about a month to complete.

Up to nine people aboard a flotilla of ships carrying aid for the Gaza Strip were killed earlier Monday when Israeli navy commandos stormed the vessels in international waters.

The incident prompted a wave of international condemnation, as Israel said it was forced to board the ships to uphold its blockade of the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory.