Turks take to the streets to protest Israel's attack on the aid-laden Freedom Flotilla. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: The Israeli attack on a Gaza aid boat on Monday sparked a global reaction, with the European Union calling for an inquiry into the attack and the Arab League calling on Arab nations to decide on their next step.


The UAE condemned the Israeli attack on Monday. Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan called on the United Nations to carry out an investigation.

Shaikh Abdullah said that the attack was "an unprovoked response against an act of humanitarian intentions."


Tunisia has condemned the Israeli attacks on the ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, saying that they were a violation of all international covenants.

“We fully reject these aggressions which are a challenge to the will of the international community and all accords, compounds the intricate situation in the region and shatters all hopes to achieve peace,” the foreign ministry said. “Tunisia reiterates its condemnation of all forms of collective punishment and calls upon the international community and influential powers to intervene promptly to lift the unfair siege of the Palestinian people in Gaza and to put an end to their suffering.”


The Egyptian government summoned its Israeli ambassador after the deadly Gaza ship raid.

United States

The United States said on Monday it 'deeply regretted' the deaths and injuries caused when Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships.

"The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy," said White House spokesman William Burton.

United Kingdom

British Foreign Secretary William Hague called on Israel to open all crossings for aid to enter Gaza and deplores the loss of life in Monday's naval raid.

In a statement, the Foreign Secretary said: "‪‪I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla. Our Embassy is in urgent contact with the Israeli Government."


Pakistan on Monday strongly condemned "the use of brazen force by Israel against a humanitarian mission".

"The killing of members of this humanitarian mission, which also included women, is brutal, inhuman and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and norms," a statement by the Foreign Office said.

It added that it was also concerned for the safety and whereabouts of Pakistani nationals on the Freedom Flotilla.


Belgium has "invited the Israeli ambassador to explain to him this afternoon how events unfolded," and also to provide news of five Belgian nationals who were on board the flotilla, according to spokesman Bart Ouvry.

The five included four women and a cameraman for Al Jazeera television news, Ouvry said.

Vatican City

The Vatican voiced "deep sadness and concern" over the Israeli raid on a pro-Palestinian flotilla of ships seeking to bring aid to the besieged Gaza Strip


The Austrian government has summoned the Israeli ambassador over the Gaza flotilla raid


Italy "deplored" the loss of civilian life in Israel's raid on aid ships bound for Gaza in which up to 19 people were killed and called on the European Union to take part in an international probe.

"I absolutely deplore... the killing of civilians" in the assault on Monday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told reporters, describing the Israeli pre-dawn military action as "really serious."

"An investigation must discover the truth about what happened," he said. "We demand a serious and detailed investigation, and I think the EU must be involved so that it is directly informed of the findings."


Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said: "Every German government has always recognised and supported the right of Israel to defend itself, but this right must of course be within the boundaries of proportionality. This basic tenet is a key part of international law ... At first glance it does not look like this basic rule was adhered to."

"Germany is shocked by the serious incident that took place in international waters off Gaza," Ulrich Wilhelm told a regular government briefing. "The German government is deeply disturbed by the loss of life."

He also added: "But one should not draw conclusions just from preliminary appearances and a comprehensive clarification of the facts is needed."

European Union

The European Union also urged Israel to allow the free flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

“High Representative Catherine Ashton expresses her deep regret at the news of loss of life and violence and extends her sympathies to families of the dead and wounded,” said a spokesperson for Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.

"On behalf of the European Union she demands a full enquiry about the circumstances in which this happened... She calls for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossing for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza."

Arab League

Arab League chief Amr Moussa called the raid a "crime" against a humanitarian mission and said the organisation is "conducting calls to Arabs to decide on our next step".


Islamist societies and families waited for news about four Bahrainis who were on board one of the Gaza aid ships.

Calls have been made to Bahrain's embassies in Cairo and Jordan, UN agencies and Palestinian officials to find out about the whereabouts and conditions of Shaikh Jalal Al Sharqi, Khalid Abdul Kareem Bujeeri, Hassan Murad and Yusuf Mahmood. However, no news were available.


In Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas announced three days of mourning. Abbas condemned what he called "a massacre".

Gazans have also gathered in the city centre to conduct a huge demonstration.

Hamas urged Arabs and Muslims to "rise up" in front of Israeli embassies across the globe in protest against Israel's deadly raid on a fleet of aid ships destined for the Gaza Strip.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced Israel's deadly attack on a Gaza aid ship as "inhuman," saying it brought Tehran's arch-foe "closer than ever to its end."


Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday slammed as "dangerous and crazy" a deadly Israeli raid on a fleet of ships carrying aid to Gaza.

"The Israeli attack on the aid convoy is a dangerous and crazy step that will exacerbate tensions in the region," Hariri said in a statement.

"Lebanon firmly denounces this attack and calls on the international community, notably major powers... to take action in order to end this continued violation of human rights and threat to international peace," he added.


Kuwait's prime minister called for an emergency meeting over the Gaza aid ship attack.

Islamist MP Waleed Al Tabtabai was among 16 Kuwaiti nationals on board one of the six ships carrying aid destined for Palestinians in Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli siege for four years.

Parliament speaker Jassem Al Khorafi condemned what he called the "heinous Israeli crime against the freedom convoy which was on a peaceful and humanitarian mission of solidarity with the population of Gaza."


Syria called for a meeting of the Arab League and Kuwait said that its government would hold an emergency meeting in the afternoon.

Amid much media coverage on the Israeli attack, Syrian Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban criticised pan-Arab Al Jazeera TV for "giving around 30 minutes to the Israeli deputy foreign minister at his press conference."


France said that "nothing can justify" the violence of Israel's Gaza ship raid.


The Greek government summoned the Israeli ambassador and withdrew from joint military exercises with Israel after the deadly raid on an aid convoy headed for the Gaza Strip.

The foreign ministry said in a statement it had demanded details on about 30 Greeks who were on the flotilla attacked by Israeli commandos.

The ministry "stressed the need to take the necessary measures to ensure their security." Israel's ambassador Ali Yahya was called in for talks with Greek deputy foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas.

"Greece's consistent position is that the activities of any non-government organisation must be freely allowed as long as they are legal," said the ministry statement.


Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Monday "deplored" the loss of civilian life in Israel's raid on a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza in which more than 10 people were killed.

Spain, which holds the rotating EU presidency, summoned Israel's ambassador on Monday for an explanation for a deadly raid on an aid ship flotilla bound for Gaza, the foreign ministry said.


Sweden summoned the Israeli ambassador to Stockholm over the "unacceptable" Gaza flotilla raid, the foreign ministry said.

"I summoned the Israeli ambassador this morning to tell him that we thought the raid was completely unacceptable and that we are taking the situation very seriously," State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage told reporters.


In Turkey, the government warned that the attack could lead to "irreparable consequences" in bilateral ties.

A statement from the foreign ministry said: "We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel. This deplorable incident, which took place in open seas and constitutes a fragrant breach of international law, may lead to irreparable consequences in our bilateral relations."

Turkey also recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and cancelled plans for three joint military exercises with Israel.

In Istanbul, Turkish police blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul over reports of the Israeli attack.

Israel has asked citizens to leave Turkey amid rising tensions in the country, Al Arabiya TV reported.

Read special coverage of the Freedom Flotilla

With inputs from Habib Toumi, Bahrain Bureau Chief; Abbas Al Lawati, Staff Reporter; Nasser Najjar, Correspondent, and agencies.