Israel's deadly military operation on a high-profile international aid mission has sparked international outrage and threatened to further deteriorate diplomatic relations between Israel and its key Muslim ally Turkey.
“What Israel has committed on board the Freedom Flotilla was a massacre,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he declared three days of mourning for the dead.
Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, urged Arabs and Muslims Monday to "rise up" before Israeli embassies across the globe in protest against the deadly raid.
“Israel regrets any loss of life and did everything to avoid this outcome. We repeatedly called upon the organisers and all those who were associated with them through diplomatic channels and any other means we could to stop this provocation. This so-called humanitarian aid did not serve humanitarian purposes,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon.
The prime minister’s office warned its citizens against travelling to Turkey, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short his trip to Canada and the US to return to Israel.
Turkey announced it would recall its ambassador to Israel in protest over the incident and cancelled three joint Israeli-Turkish military exercises.
Protesters gathered outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul Monday, burning Israeli flags and shouting anti-Israeli slogans.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cut short an official visit to Latin America to return to Turkey.
"The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy," said a White House spokesman.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was shocked by the seriousness of the incident. The UN chief condemned the killings and said a full investigation on the incident was vital.
The organsiation of Arab nations has called an emergency meeting on June 1 to discuss the incident.
"I am profoundly shocked by the tragic consequences of the Israeli military operation against the Peace Flotilla for Gaza," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a statement issued Monday. Sarkozy also condemned the “disproportionate” use of force and offered condolences to the families of the victims.
"EU ambassadors have called a special meeting in Brussels," a European Commission spokesperson told reporters Monday.
Greece ended military exercises with Israel in protest at the raid.
Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Spain and Greece summoned Israeli ambassadors to their respective countries.
"The inhuman acts of the Zionist regime against Palestinians and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the people of Gaza does not show the strength of the Zionist regime, but its weakness," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told state broadcaster IRIB.
Global outcry follows Israel's raid on Gaza-bound aid flotilla
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Europe and the Middle East on Monday in protest at the Israeli storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. In this photo, protesters display a Palestinian flag near the Israeli embassy in Paris. (Photo credit: Julie Kara)
Protesters wave Palestinian and Turkish flags on the Champs Élysées, near the Israeli embassy in Paris, while brandishing banners saying, "Long live free Palestine" and "Criminal Israel". (Photo credit: Julie Kara)
In Paris, protesters held images of children killed in the December 2008 Israeli military operation in Gaza. (Photo credit: Julie Kara)
Police used teargas in Paris when about 1,200 people demonstrated near the Israeli embassy, hurling stones and waving Turkish and Palestinian flags. (Photo credit: Julie Kara)
In the Turkish capital of Ankara, tens of thousands of people joined street demonstrations Monday. Turkish-Israeli relations have been severely strained by the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla. (Photo credit: AFP)
Pakistani demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during demonstrations against Israel. (Photo credit: AFP)
Across Egypt, the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, up to 8,000 Egyptians protested, demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Cairo and calling on the Egyptian government to open the Rafah border with Gaza.(Photo credit: AFP)
Women holding Palestinian flags demonstrate in front of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Madrid. (Photo credit: AFP)
Date created : 2010-05-31