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NATO demands release of flotilla activists

June 1, 2010 6:56 P.M. (Updated: June 2, 2010 6:33 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - After convening for an emergency session on Tuesday at Turkey's behest, NATO has called on Israel to immediately release the activists detained by Israel following a fatal attack on an aid convoy en route to Gaza

A statement issued by NATO's secretary-general expressed "deep regret over the loss of lives and the other casualties resulting from the use of force during the incident involving the convoy sailing to Gaza."

The NATO chief further "condem[ned] the acts which have led to this tragedy" and echoed the EU and UN calls for a prompt, impartial inquiry into the incident.

On Monday morning Israeli commando units stormed the aid flotilla, killing at least 10 activists on board and injuring others.

The ships were then diverted to the Israeli Ashdod port, where many of the passengers were detained. Over 629 activist have refused voluntarily deportation and are choosing to remain in Israeli custody in jails across the country.

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