The Turkish Hurriyet daily has published photos of Israeli Commando soldiers being beaten by passengers aboard the Turkish-owned Marmara vessel, which took part in the aid flotilla to
In the pictures, taken in the moments before the IDF succeeded in taking control of the ship, the soldiers are shown bleeding and some of them being led by the activists on board.
The widely-circulated paper says the photos were purposefully censored by Israel, and that they had been saved by one of the activists, who salvaged them from a digital memory stick.
- For all photos, click here
The report, entitled 'Commando tears', says the soldiers who raided the ship attempted to confiscate the activists' digital cameras and memory sticks "in order to leave no trace". It says the photos were originally erased, but later reproduced by advanced Turkish technology.
'Commando tears' - Hurriyet headline (from newspaper)
"The people of the IHH presented the photos of the soldiers' neutralization, which the Israeli army attempted to contain in order to prevent damage to their image," the Hurriyet wrote.
One of the photos shows a Commando soldier lying on his back on deck, surrounded by six people and attempting to cover his face. Another soldier is shown being led down the stairs, his face bloody. At his side is a cameraman, documenting the incident on video.
Another photo shows a soldier falling down the stairs, a wool cap covering his face. In a different photo, two activists are seen awaiting the arrival of the soldiers, metal rods in their hands.
It is evident from the pictures that those on board the Marmara succeeded in isolating a number of soldiers and beating them for at least a few minutes before the Israel Defense Forces took control of the vessel.
The soldiers' faces are clearly shown in the photos, whereas the Israeli press blurred them in order to protect the identity of those who took part in the raid.
The IDF Spokesperson's Office expressed its satisfaction with the Turkish newspapers' decision to publish the photos. "This is clear proof of Israel's repeated claims, that the boat was carrying mercenaries, whose sole purpose was to kill the soldiers.
"The images could have been different, had the soldiers chosen to shoot any civilian who approached them. Thanks to their strength and deep understanding of the event, the Navy Commandos managed to distinguish between a peace activist and a terrorist."