Nations condemn attack on flotilla

JERUSALEM - Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships yesterday and more than 10 of the mostly international activists aboard were killed, provoking a diplomatic crisis.

JERUSALEM - Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships yesterday and more than 10 of the mostly international activists aboard were killed, provoking a diplomatic crisis.

Here is some international reaction to the incident:

l Palestinian President Mahoud Abbas: "What Israel has committed on board the Freedom Flotilla was a massacre."

He declared three days of official mourning for the dead.

l Turkish President Abdullah Gul: Ankara is demanding an inquiry into the violent interdiction of the Turkey-backed convoy and the punishment of the culprits. Turkey called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

l Arab League chief Amr Moussa: Called for an emergency meeting to discuss what the body that groups 22 Arab states described as Israel's "terrorist act".

l Iranian President M Ahmoud Ahmadinejad: "The inhuman acts of the Zionist regime against Palestinians and preventing humanitarian aid to the Gaza people does not show the strength of the Zionist regime but shows its weakness."

lFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy: "The president of the republic expresses his profound emotion in the face of the tragic consequences of the Israeli military operation," Sarkozy's office said. "He condemns the disproportionate use of force and addresses his condolences to the families of the victims," it said.

l British foreign secretary William Hague: "I deplore the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla... We have consistently advised against attempting to access Gaza in this way, because of the risks involved."

l German government spokesperson Ulrich Wilhelm: "The German government is shocked by events in the international waters by Gaza..."

l Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg: "This underlines that the blockade of Gaza should be ended as soon as possible," Stoltenberg said.

l Spanish secretary of state Diego Lopez Garrido: Spain unequivocally condemns the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla and it does so as a country and as the acting president of the EU Council.

l Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen: "I want the Israeli ambassador in The Hague to provide clarification today on this," Verhagen said. "The Netherlands wants an investigation."

l Greek deputy foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas: "The level of violence cannot be excused ... we condemn it and this is exactly the message I conveyed this morning to the Israeli ambassador.

l The Vatican: "This is a very painful fact, in particular because of the loss of human lives," said chief Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi. - Reuters

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