Israel begins deporting activists captured on aid flotilla
Israel on Wednesday began deporting foreign pro-Palestinian activists captured on board an aid flotilla intercepted on its way to the blockaded Gaza Strip, local media reported.
The first busload of Turkish activists were taken to Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, before dawn, DPA reported.
Another group of 124 activists, most from Muslim nations without diplomatic ties with Israel, were taken to the Allenby Bridge to cross into Jordan, en route to their countries of origin.
Around 50 activists who had voluntarily agreed to leave Israel flew out of Ben Gurion on Tuesday. Others who had refused to identify themselves and cooperate with Israeli authorities were taken to a prison in southern Israel.
But late Tuesday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the deportation of all the approximately 600 people detained from the ships.
Israel naval commandos stormed the flotilla early Monday morning, after the six ships refused orders to change course and sail to the Israeli port of Ashdod, instead of the Gaza Strip.
The assault, which saw commandos on one ship battle activists wielding iron bars and clubs, left nine people dead and unleashed a wave of condemnation against the Jewish state.