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2 Jun, 2010 10:40

“Israeli commandos had paintball guns” – Israeli Ambassador

Israeli soldiers who shot Freedom Flotilla activists did not intend to use arms, and were carrying paintball guns while boarding the ships. That is according to the Israeli Ambassador to Russia.

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station, Israeli Ambassador Anna Azari said that Israeli soldiers did not plan to storm the flotilla at first.

“We thought that on board these ships are only human rights activists. That is why, when we decided to stop these ships, we did not plan any violence,” she said. “Nobody wanted to kill anybody. When they want to kill someone, especially on a big cargo ship like this, it is done with different methods.”

She said that the first video pictures received from the ship showed commandos with big guns. ”These are paintball guns, the minimum tool in case confrontation happens,” Azari explained.

She said that the fact that commandos were descending one by one on a rope does not speak in favor of the version of a planned combat operation.

“They just did not realize that when they descended, they would be attacked from all sides,” Azari said. She added that the ship had a large stock of metal bars.

Azari told the radio program that shooting from real guns started after passengers of the ship initiated violence against the soldiers. They dropped one of the soldiers head-first from one deck to another and used knives on two others, she said.

According to Azari, the action of the activists was a deliberate provocation.

”They said themselves that they had two goals: either to break through the Gaza blockade or to cause a big PR event,” she said.

However, according to one of the activists who was on board the ship Mavi Marmara at the time of the attack, much remains unclear about the details of the tragedy and Israel is not shedding any light on the situation.

Haneen Zuabi told RT that the Israeli Defense Force has video documents of what happened, but is deliberately showing only part of the picture.

“We are calling for an international investigation committee to ask all the documentation from the Israeli army. There are now in Israel about 500 passengers whom Israel is still arresting, so let the people, let the journalists, have interviews with these 500 people and let the Israeli army release all the documentation,” Haneen Zuabi told RT.

”We need this international committee to investigate what happened: why and how come Israel is above international law,” she added.