WASHINGTON (JTA) — A senior Israeli official claimed that activists aboard the Gaza-bound aid boarded by Israeli commandos had plans to kidnap an Israeli soldier.
Daniel Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, made the claim Thursday in a conference call with 3,000 supporters of Christians United for Israel. He said that the activists were equipped with weapons and gas masks and had segregated the more peaceful activists below deck. Ayalon, who repeated a claim by other Israeli officials that some of the violent activists were carrying wads of cash, did not cite evidence for his claims.
Nine activists were killed in the raid before dawn Monday when Israeli commandos carried out an operation to stop the flotilla of ships from breaching Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Seven Israeli soldiers were wounded in the confrontation, which has prompted condemnation of Israel from around the world.