Monday, May 31, 2010

Hundreds Protest in Beirut Against Attack on Gaza Flotilla

Beirut - Hundreds of Lebanese, Palestinians and followers of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, demonstrated Monday in front the UN headquarters in Beirut, to protest against Israel's attack on a fleet of boats taking aid to Gaza, which left at least 10 dead.

'This is a crime against humanity,' read one banner carried by the protestors, who chanted anti-Israel slogans. They handed a letter of condemnation of the event to UN spokesman in Beirut, Bahaa al Kossi.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri also asked the foreign ministry to request a special session of the UN Security Council in order to discuss the attack.

Berri had contacted Foreign Minister Ali Shami and urged him to take action and ask the council to convene immediately, since Lebanon was currently its head, the country's state run National News Agency reported.

Israel's navy on Monday stormed the so-called Freedom Flotilla, made up of six boats carrying some 700 pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid bound for the Gaza Strip. At least 10 died as a result of the raid.

The fleet had set off from Cyprus on Sunday afternoon. Organisers had hoped it would be able to break Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip.

Earlier, Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was 'dangerous' and a 'crazy move,' which would inflame the region.

The premier called on the international community to take action and said Lebanon was in contact with a number of countries to coordinate responses to the incident.

Reports in Beirut said the head of the Lebanese mission to the 'Freedom Flotilla' Hani Suleiman, had been wounded in the attack.

Hezbollah lawmaker Hassan Fadlallah described the attack as a 'premeditated crime against humanity by the Israelis.'

In a previous statement on Sunday, Hezbollah had described the activists on board the flotilla as 'defenders of human rights.'

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