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Kiwi: "Israelis fired at will"

Published: 8:11AM Friday June 04, 2010 Source: ONE News

The New Zealand woman detained in Israel after a raid on an aid flotilla has described a "lot of noise, a lot of chaos and a lot of gunfire".

Nicola Enchmarch, who was with the aid organisation Viva Palestina, told the BBC the Israeli commandos were "very, very  aggressive" and "didn't care who they were firing at".

Enchmarch was among the hundreds of activists deported from Israel on Wednesday and spoke at Istanbul airport after being released.

She says she was on the top level when the commandos arrived and there was gunfire coming from all directions. After trying to help the first casualty, Enchmarch says they went down to next level to try to get inside and away from danger.

Enchmarch says they were defensive but the commandos were very menacing and shooting at them. "There was some sort of gas and sound bombs," she says.

She says the attack seemed to last for about 45 minutes and they were contained inside for about 17 hours in "horrible conditions" in which people were restricted from using toilets and bound with handcuffs. Some men were blindfolded and at a later stage they were all moved to the upper and lower decks of the ferry.

Everybody was kneeling with their hands bound, says Enchmarch but she says most women had the ties released.

However, Enchmarch was "hassling them to undo some of the people that needed it" and was subsequently rebound and "shunted off into solitary confinement".

Nine activists died during the raids on the flotilla. Israel says commandos were acting within international law and were attacked when they boarded the ships.