World condemns Israel's midsea mayhem
United Nations members and officials came out in strong condemnation of Israel's attack on a humanitarian flotilla headed to the Gaza strip on Monday, with its chief Ban Ki Moon seeking a 'full explanation' from the country.
The Security Council also convened an emergency meeting to discuss a draft resolution, to call for an international inquiry into the incident and compensation for those who had been killed.
Image: Demonstrators hold a Palestinian flag during an anti-Israel protest in front of the foreign ministry in Madrid
Photographs: Andrea Comas/Reuters
'Israel must urgently provide a full explanation'
"I condemn this violence," said Secretary General Ban.
"It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place. I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation," he said.
The operations by Israeli naval commandos killed at least 16 activists and injured dozens of others, sparking a global outrage on Monday.
Image: Demonstrators take part in a protest against Israel in Istanbul
Photographs: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
UNSC members slam Gaza attack
Israel, in turn, accused the people on board the ship of having turned on its soldiers with knives and metal rods and claimed that the defence personnel had acted in self defence.
In individual statements, the 15 UNSC members issued remarks, almost all condemning the assault.
Veto-wielding permanent members France, Russia and China called for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted and sought an independent inquiry into the bloody episode.
Image: A pro-Palestinian protester kneels in front of a police cordon outside the Israeli embassy in Athens
Photographs: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
'Unacceptable and counterproductive'
"It is clearer than ever that Israel's restrictions on access to Gaza must be lifted in line with Security Council Resolution 1860. The current closure is unacceptable and counterproductive," British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said.
The United States, which is Israel's main ally, regretted the loss of life but did not condemn the attacks like most of the Muslim countries and European nations. It urged Israel to undertake a domestic inquiry.
Image: Left-wing Israeli activists take part in a protest in Jerusalem
Photographs: Ammar Awad/Reuters
US 'deeply disturbed'
Image: Egyptian police stand guard during a demostration by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in front of Al-Fath Mosque in Cairo
Photographs: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
'Disproportionate use of force'
While the Security Council discussed a draft statement to condemn the attack, top UN officials protested strongly against the incident.
"I unequivocally condemn what appears to be disproportionate use of force, resulting in the killing and wounding of so many people attempting to bring much-needed aid to the people of Gaza, who have now been enduring a blockade for more than three years," said UN human rights chief Navi Pillay.
Image: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest outside the Israeli embassy in London
Photographs: Luke MacGregor/Reuters
'This is a black day'
Turkey, which introduced the statement in the Council, demanded that Israel apologise for the act.
"This is a black day for humanity," said Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister
Image: A United Nations Security Council emergency meeting called by Turkey and Lebanon at the UN headquarters in New York
Photographs: Chip East/Reuters