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Israeli military prevents media from covering assault on humanitarian flotilla

Israeli military prevents media from covering assault on humanitarian flotilla
A man holds a placard reading 'They are the pirates of the Mediterranean' during a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate in Barcelona on May 31, 2010 following a deadly Israel military raid Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships. Spain, which holds the rotating EU presidency, condemned the Israeli army's raid on aid ships bound for Gaza and summoned Israel's ambassador.

Censorship attempts that accompanied Monday's deadly assault by Israel on a flotilla that was carrying humanitarian aid, 750 pro-Palestinian activists and several journalists to the Gaza Strip, according to Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

“We deplore this assault, which left a heavy toll of dead and wounded,” Paris-based RSF said. “The journalists who were on the flotilla to cover the humanitarian operation were put in harm’s way by this disproportionate reaction. We urge the Israeli authorities to release the detained journalists and allow them unrestricted access to the Gaza Strip. The international community needs accurate information about this Palestinian Territory.”

Nineteen passengers were killed and 36 wounded when Israeli naval commandos stormed the “freedom flotilla.” It was transporting humanitarian supplies and consumers goods for the Gaza population, which has been under an Israeli blockade for nearly four years.

“Hundreds of Israeli soldiers attacked the flotilla and the captain of our boat is seriously injured,” Al-Jazeera correspondent Abbas Nasser reported in his last call to his TV station’s headquarters in Qatar before communications were severed.

Two Bulgarian journalists working for the Bulgarian television station BTV were arrested during the assault. Bulgarian news media identified them as reporter Svetoslav Ivanov and cameraman Valentin Vassilev. Aaj TV presenter Talat Hussain was also on the flotilla. There is still no news of him. The Israeli authorities have forbidden all the journalists to enter the Gaza Strip.

Israeli public radio reported in the course of the morning that the authorities had banned the media from providing any information about the dead and wounded, who were taken to hospitals in Israel. The censorship order was lifted at around midday.

Date posted: May 31, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 146