Pak demands UN, OIC action over Israel attack on 'Freedom Flotilla'

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Islamabad, June 1(ANI): Pakistan has expressed concern over the attack on the Gaza-bound aid ships by Israeli troops, and demanded that the United Nations and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) take serious note of the incident.

At least 16 people were killed and 30 injured after Israeli troops stormed a convoy of six ships carrying activists and aid supplies to the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

The convoy includes the "Mavi Marmara," a large Turkish-flagged passenger vessel with about 600 people on board, two cargo ships and three other boats.

According to reports, the confrontation took place in international waters, 80 miles off the Gaza coast on Monday morning when armed forces boarded the vessels and clashed with some of the protesters on board.

"It is very serious issue, about 630 activists from 40 countries of the world were on board on Freedom Flotilla to provide human assistance to the Palestinian who were suffering from food and water," The Dawn quoted Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan Foreign Minister, as saying.

Qureshi insisted that there was no moral and legal justification of the attack, and it was also violation of international borders because the "Freedom Flotilla" carrying relief goods was attacked in the open sea.

He has also asked the OIC Secretary General to convene emergency meeting of the OIC to discuss the issue with consultation and consensus with other members.

The minister further said that Pakistan has great concern about the activists including three journalists from Pakistan.

The ships, carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid, had left international waters off the coast of Cyprus on Sunday and were expected to arrive in Gaza on Monday.

Israel had earlier said that it would stop the boats, calling the campaign a "provocation intended to delegitimise Israel".

An economic blockade was imposed on Gaza by Israel after the strip was taken over by the militant group Hamas in 2007.

It has allowed some food and medical supplies through, but has prevented large-scale rebuilding following the bombardment and invasion in 2008-09. (ANI)

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