The United States said it "deeply regrets" Monday's deadly flotilla raid and expects a "full and credible" investigation by Israel, as it also stressed the need for prompt peace negotiations in the region.
"The United States deeply regrets the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in the incident today aboard the Gaza-bound ships," US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement.
"We are working to ascertain the facts, and expect that the Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation" into the matter, he added.
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Crowley's statement echoed President Barack Obama's words in a telephone call earlier to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was visiting Canada.
"The president expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and... also... the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible," the White House said in a statement.
Crowley also said the United States was "deeply concerned by the suffering of civilians in Gaza."
"We will continue to work closely with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, along with international NGOs and the UN, to provide adequate access for humanitarian goods, including reconstruction materials, through the border crossings, while bearing in mind the Government of Israel's legitimate security concerns," he added.
"However, Hamas' interference with international assistance shipments and work of nongovernmental organizations, and its use and endorsement of violence, complicates efforts in Gaza," Crowley said.
"Ultimately, this incident underscores the need to move ahead quickly with negotiations that can lead to a comprehensive peace in the region," the statement concluded.