Region | Palestinian Territories

Israelis subdued captain by pointing gun at a child

Algerian activist gives chilling account of atrocities

  • By Layelle Saad, GCC & Middle East Editor, and Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
  • Published: 00:00 June 3, 2010
  • Gulf News

Calm and the storm
  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Ship engineer Ekrem Cetin with his one-year-old son Turker Kaan on the Turkish ship 'Mavi Marmara' as they sail in the international waters on Sunday
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Dubai/Cairo: According to a report in The Guardian, an Algerian activist, who gave her name as Sabrina, revealed that Israeli troops pointed their gun at a one-year-old Turkish child in front of his parents to force the captain of the Mavi Marmara to stop sailing.

Many reports have emerged from among the 124 activists who crossed over into Amman, Jordan, yesterday.

In an interview with Sky News, IT professional Hasan Nowarah, from Glasgow, described the moments as the Israeli troops descended on the ship.

"All you could see was screaming and bullets. Out of the blue as I looked around our ship, all I could see were hundreds of Zodiacs. Hundreds of Zodiacs full of soldiers, and big ships, lots of ships, and I believe as well submarines in the sea."

Kuwaiti MP Walid Al Tabtabai said the Israelis were "brutal and arrogant".

"Israelis roughed up and humiliated all of us, women, men and children," he said.

Algerian Izzeddine Zahrour said Israeli authorities "deprived us of food, water and sleep and we weren't allowed to use the toilet".

"It was an ugly kidnapping and subsequently bad treatment in Israeli jail," he said.

"They handcuffed us, pushed us around and humiliated us," Egyptian MP Hazem Farouq, who was also on the boat, said and added what he witnessed on the ship "defied his imagination".

"It was hell on the sea. I saw Israeli soldiers killing activists in cold blood and then walking on their bodies," Farouq, who was one of more than 700 activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla attacked by Israeli commandos, said on Tuesday in Cairo.

"The Israeli soldiers sprayed bullets as if they were a mafia in an American film."

Farouq and his colleague Mohammad Al Beltagui were detained along with many activists, who survived the widely condemned Israeli attack. They were released late on Monday after direct intervention by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Robbed

"The Israelis left some of the injured activists bleeding without treatment until death," Farouq said.

He added that he and Al Beltagui had been robbed of all their belongings and around $3,500 in cash. Both MPs belong to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's strongest opposition force.

"All the survivors on the ship were beaten up, stripped and humiliated by the Israeli commandos while other Israeli soldiers were busy firing teargas," said Al Beltagui.

"What happened is sheer thuggery and piracy," he added.

According to him, the blood was so copious on the ship that some Israeli soldiers slipped while on board.

"We were kept aboard the ship until 3pm under the blazing sun, a situation that made many people, including women, suffer sunstroke and lose consciousness."

The two lawmakers, whom the Egyptian authorities said they had joined the humanitarian effort without notifying them, said they and other activists had refused to sign a written Israeli statement that they had attempted to illegally enter Israel.

"Al Beltagui and I left the detention centre only in the underwear, which were stained with blood of the martyrs, and without shoes until the Egyptian Consul in Israel came to accompany us to the [Egyptian] border town of Taba," said Farouq.

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