JERUSALEM, June 3 (IANS): Israel has said about 40 of the activists arrested in the attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla may have had links to Al-Qaeda.
According to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), a special meeting of the Security Cabinet late Tuesday heard that a group of 40 people on board the Mavi Marmara ship with no identification papers belonged to Al Qaeda.
"The terrorists were equipped with bullet proof vests, night-vision goggles, and weapons. On board the Mavi Marmara ship that arrived as part of the flotilla to Gaza was a group of about 40 people with no identification papers, who are mercenaries belonging to the Al Qaeda terror organisation," the IDF said on its website.
As international debate continues over Israel's deadly raid on the humanitarian vessels, the IDF released a number of videos to show the military's version of the attack during which soldiers shot and killed nine international activists bound for the Gaza Strip.
One video, put up on Wednesday on several websites including the site of Israeli daily Haaretz, shows passengers on the Mavi Marmara hurling stun grenades and plates and spraying water at the commandos as they lowered themselves onto the ship. The activists are also seen armed with iron bars and batons which they reportedly used against the soldiers.