Israel was tonight under pressure to allow an independent inquiry into its assault on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed, obtained by the Guardian, revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.
Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.
The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.
The findings emerged as more survivors gave their accounts of the raids. Ismail Patel, the chairman of Leicester-based pro-Palestinian group Friends of al-Aqsa, who returned to Britain today, told how he witnessed some of the fatal shootings and claimed that Israel had operated a “shoot to kill policy”.
More testimonies from survivors (here and Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul McGeough has a long piece today here and another one where he reveals the presence of Australian-accented Israeli troops storming the ship) paint a grim picture of extreme Israeli violence.
Israel has no evidence that the activists were connected to al-Qaeda (a lie that was initially used and is now a smear that’s stuck).
And who is going to truly investigate the situation of Palestinians in Israel and Palestine, the wider and far more imporat question? Yes, the UN has appointed the Sri Lankan representative in New York, a member of a government facing serious allegations of war crimes:
Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the UN Dr. Palitha Kohona is to head a UN delegation to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories, UN officials said.
The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories will visit Egypt from 8 to 11 June, Jordan from 11 to 16 June, and Syria from 16 to 19 June 2010.