A YOUNG Cape Town journalist who was feared dead after Israeli military forces attacked and killed 19 people who were on their way to drop off aid in the Gaza Strip is alive and well.

Cape Town Radio 786 journalist Gadija Davids, 25, was on board the Mavi Marmara aid ship, which was the first to be attacked by elite Israeli naval command troops early yesterday morning.

Protests erupted all over the world yesterday when the news broke that 700 people, including 35 international politicians and about 40 journalists, had been attacked as they made their way to Gaza on a flotilla of six ships.

Haidar Eid, a South African who lives in Gaza, said the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was carrying 10000 tons of electric wheelchairs, prefabricated homes, water purifiers, toys, workbooks, chocolate, pasta and substantial medical supplies.

Davids' mother, Magboeba Davids, said: "I feel sad but also very proud that my daughter went on this trip. We have high hopes that, God willing, she will return but we also have to be prepared for the worst."

Radio 786 news editor Zubeida Samsodien had earlier said: "We have no idea if Gadija is alive or dead or injured. We only know that her ship was flanked by Israeli warships and Israeli soldiers dropped down on to the decks from Apache helicopters and started killing people."

Cosatu, the South African Municipal Workers' Union and local Palestine solidarity groups demanded that President Jacob Zuma shut down the Israeli embassy in South Africa.

Meanwhile, about 50 people from the Cape Town Anti-War Coalition held a protest against the killings at Green Point Stadium.

Organiser Shaheed Mahomed said "this was a slaughter of unarmed aid participants".

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