VIDEO - Video footage of the raid
on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara vessel shows activists on board brutally beating up troops with metal rods and chairs.
The video also shows one soldier being grabbed by some of the activists and being pushed down to the lower deck, sustaining serious wounds. Meanwhile, passengers on the ship kept on beating up the soldiers who landed on the vessel.
Following the takeover of the ship, soldiers displayed for the cameras the knives and other weapons used by the Gaza-bound activists in their attack.
One of the soldiers who took part in the raid and broke his hand in the clash recounted the moments of horror when he and his comrades were assaulted by about 30 activists on board.
“After every person came down (from the helicopter,) three or four guys grabbed a hold of him and simply beat him senseless. They lynched us. They were equipped with metal bats, knives, slingshots, and glass bottles. At some point we faced live fire by two guys,” he said.
“I was among the last to come down, and I saw the guys spread all over, each in another corner, with three or four people around each. I saw a soldier on the ground with two people beating the hell out of him. I pushed them off of him, and they moved on to me and started to beat me up with the poles. This is how I broke my hand apparently,” he said. “At the time I was not holding a weapon, just like everyone who came down from the rope barehanded and with our paintball guns on our backs.”
“They came at me and assaulted me. I took them down to the ground. I took a few steps back and pulled out my paintball gun. They charged me while I fired at their legs,” he said. “One of the bats shattered the weapon, so I moved on to the handgun, so that I have something to hold. At that point my arm wasn’t functional.”
“I saw two of my guys lying on the floor. We were being fired at, with live ammunition, from the corridor. It was bullets. I spotted a muzzle, and one of us fired at the guy. We came in after that and he wasn’t there.”
“There were about 30 people there,” the soldier summed up. “They simply came for war. We came to talk to them, convince them to come down, yet with every person who came down, they simply charged.”
Despite the video footage, Israel had been condemned worldwide over the raid, which claimed the lives of at least nine people. The events at sea also stirred great anger among Arab Israelis, who held rallies and waved PLO flags across the nation. Two police officers sustained light wounds in Umm al-Fahm, in northern Israel, after being stoned by locals.