Factbox: Turk aid activists return home after Gaza sea raid

(BestGrowthStock) – Israeli marines stormed Turkish-backed aid ships bound for Gaza in a naval operation on Monday that left nine people dead and sparked world outcry.

Israel has detained some 700 activists incommunicado, ensuring no contradiction of its version of events. Israeli officials said the nine activists were killed when commandos storming the cruise ship opened fire in self-defense.

But Turkey has sent three planes, including two military ambulance aircraft, to Israel to bring back 20 Turkish people wounded in the raid, state news agency Anatolia said.

Following are quotes from Turkish activists who were onboard the Mavi Marmara after arriving in Turkey.

NILUFER CETIN, A MOTHER, HOLDING HER 1-YEAR OLD BABY

“We stayed in our cabin and played games amid the sound of gunfire. My son has been nervous since yesterday afternoon … I did not need to protect my son. They knew there was a baby on board. I protected him by staying in my cabin, then went to the bathroom. I put a gas mask and life jacket on my son. We did not experience any other problems on board, only a water shortage. We took walks on the deck, played games with my son. The curtains were drawn, so I did not see not the raid as it was happening. I only heard the voices. There are lightly and heavily wounded people.

“There are thousands, millions of babies in Gaza. My son and I wanted to play with those babies. We planned to deliver them aid. We wanted to say ‘Look, it’s a safe place, I came here with my baby-son’. I saw my husband from a distance, he looked OK. The ship personnel was not wounded, because they (the soldiers) needed them to take the ship to port. I will go again if another ship goes.”

BAYRAM KALYON

“The captain of the vessel Mavi Marmara told us ‘They are firing randomly, they are breaking the windows and entering inside. So you should get out of here as soon as possible.’ That was our last conversation with him.”

MUTLU TIRYAKI

“When we went up to the deck, they emerged from helicopters and military boats and attacked us. They approached our vessel with military ships after issuing a warning. We told them we were unarmed. Our sole weapon was water.”

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(Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Reuters TV)

Factbox: Turk aid activists return home after Gaza sea raid