“ 9 activists killed in Israeli raid ”

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ANKARA – Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel and called  for an emergency session of the UN Security Council as criticism and condemnations arose across Europe and the Arab world yesterday  over Israel’s deadly commando raid on ships taking humanitarian  aid to the blockaded  Gaza Strip.Turkey’s prime minister said that Israel had violated international  law and shown that  it did not want peace  in the region.“It should be known that we are not going to remain silent in the face  of this inhumane state terrorism,” Prime  Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.The raid, in which at least nine pro-Palestinian activists, mostly Turks, were killed, was a new blow to Israel’s international standing at a time when the West – including the United States – have grown frustrated with its stance in the peace process. The bloodshed particularly hurts its relations with Turkey, which was once  a close regional ally of Israel but has become increasingly critical of it.The flotilla of six  ships, carrying some  700 activists, was sponsored in part by  a Turkish organisation.A crowd of Turks tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul before some 10 000 marched to a main square. Around 1 000 protested in Jordan s capital, Amman, calling for their government to cut diplomatic ties with Israel. Smaller protests erupted in capitals across the Middle East, Europe  and South Asia.Palestinian youths protesting the raid scuffled with Israeli soldiers, throwing bottles and stones at them  at a checkpoint north  of Jerusalem.Israel said the activists attacked its commandos as they boarded the six ships taking tons of supplies to Gaza, while the flotilla’s organisers said the Israeli forces opened fire first.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the violence. The White House issued a cautious reaction, saying  “The United States  deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.” (AP)