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Israel deports Gaza flotilla activists

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Peter Venner was seized by Israeli authorities

Peter Venner was seized by Israeli authorities

Irish activist Shane Dillon arrives back at Dublin Airport after he was deported from Israel following a commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla

Irish activist Shane Dillon arrives back at Dublin Airport after he was deported from Israel following a commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla

Niall Carson

Irish activist Shane Dillon arrives back at Dublin Airport after he was deported from Israel following a commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla

Irish activist Shane Dillon arrives back at Dublin Airport after he was deported from Israel following a commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla

Niall Carson

Irish activist Shane Dillon arrives back at Dublin Airport after he was deported from Israel following a commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla

Irish activist Shane Dillon arrives back at Dublin Airport after he was deported from Israel following a commando raid on the Gaza aid flotilla

Niall Carson

Ibrahim Musaji's mother Fatima (left) and sister is Farhara are interviewed at their home in Gloucester, after Ibrahim was believed to be amongst those that were taking part in the aid flotilla attacked by Israelis

Ibrahim Musaji's mother Fatima (left) and sister is Farhara are interviewed at their home in Gloucester, after Ibrahim was believed to be amongst those that were taking part in the aid flotilla attacked by Israelis

PA Video

Nobel peace prize winner Mairead Maguire standing beside the Cargo ship the MV Rachel Corrie 12/05/10

Nobel peace prize winner Mairead Maguire standing beside the Cargo ship the MV Rachel Corrie 12/05/10

Niall Carson

Demonstrators gather in front of the White House to protest against US funding of Israel in Lafayette Park June 1, 2010 in Washington, DC

Demonstrators gather in front of the White House to protest against US funding of Israel in Lafayette Park June 1, 2010 in Washington, DC

Chip Somodevilla

Demonstrators gather in front of the White House to protest against U.S. funding of Israel in Lafayette Park June 1, 2010 in Washington, DC

Demonstrators gather in front of the White House to protest against U.S. funding of Israel in Lafayette Park June 1, 2010 in Washington, DC

Chip Somodevilla

Pakistani protesters who try to reach the US Consulate, confront police officers during a rally denouncing Israel's raid on ships taking humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pakistani protesters who try to reach the US Consulate, confront police officers during a rally denouncing Israel's raid on ships taking humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip, Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shakil Adil

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators hold a Turkish national flag and shout anti-Israel slogans during a protest in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Tuesday, June, 1, 2010

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators hold a Turkish national flag and shout anti-Israel slogans during a protest in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Tuesday, June, 1, 2010

Valentina Petrova

Egyptian activists clash with riot police during a protest against the Israeli naval operation storming a flotilla of ships carrying aid and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip

Egyptian activists clash with riot police during a protest against the Israeli naval operation storming a flotilla of ships carrying aid and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip

Nasser Nasser

A protester hangs on a lamp outside Belfast City Hall

A protester hangs on a lamp outside Belfast City Hall

Gerry Adams with protesters outside Belfast City Hall

Gerry Adams with protesters outside Belfast City Hall

Deputy First Minister Minister Martin McGuinness who joined several hundred people in Derry's Guild Hall Square in protest at the raid on the aid flotilla which was travelling to Gaza

Deputy First Minister Minister Martin McGuinness who joined several hundred people in Derry's Guild Hall Square in protest at the raid on the aid flotilla which was travelling to Gaza

Martin McKeown

Some of the several hundred people in Derry's Guild Hall Square in protest at the raid on the aid flotilla which was travelling to Gaza

Some of the several hundred people in Derry's Guild Hall Square in protest at the raid on the aid flotilla which was travelling to Gaza

A protester hangs on a lamp outside Belfasat City Hall

A protester hangs on a lamp outside Belfasat City Hall

Alan Lewis

Protesters outside Belfast City Hall

Protesters outside Belfast City Hall

Protesters outside Belfast City Hall

Protesters outside Belfast City Hall

Alan Lewis

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Pro-Palestianian campaigners in Whitehall, London

Pro-Palestianian campaigners in Whitehall, London

Fiona Hanson

Pro-Palestianian campaigners in Whitehall, London

Pro-Palestianian campaigners in Whitehall, London

Fiona Hanson

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Actor Adrian Dunbar (right) joins protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Actor Adrian Dunbar (right) joins protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Protestors gather outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin

Niall Carson

A large crowd of protesters stand at the entrance to Kensington Palace Green and the Israeli Embassy

A large crowd of protesters stand at the entrance to Kensington Palace Green and the Israeli Embassy

John Stillwell

An Hasidic Jew, a group who traditionally do not agree with Israel's action against Palestine, reads scripture during a campaign in Whitehall, London

An Hasidic Jew, a group who traditionally do not agree with Israel's action against Palestine, reads scripture during a campaign in Whitehall, London

Fiona Hanson

Pro-Palestianian campaigners in Whitehall, London

Pro-Palestianian campaigners in Whitehall, London

Fiona Hanson

Turkish women shout anti-Israeli slogans during a protest in front of the UN house in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 31, 2010

Turkish women shout anti-Israeli slogans during a protest in front of the UN house in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, May 31, 2010

Bilal Hussein

Israeli Navy soldiers prepare to intercept several boats

Israeli Navy soldiers prepare to intercept several boats

Uriel Sinai

Protesters burn a Star of David during a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Monday, May 31, 2010

Protesters burn a Star of David during a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Monday, May 31, 2010

Ibrahim Usta

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Uriel Sinai

A border policeman looks on as Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel

A border policeman looks on as Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel

Uriel Sinai

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Uriel Sinai

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010 in Tel Aviv, Israel

Uriel Sinai

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Uriel Sinai

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Uriel Sinai

Israeli Navy soldiers intercept several boats headed towards the Gaza Strip

Israeli Navy soldiers intercept several boats headed towards the Gaza Strip

Uriel Sinai

Israeli Navy soldiers prepare to approach and board as they intercept several boats headed towards the Gaza Strip

Israeli Navy soldiers prepare to approach and board as they intercept several boats headed towards the Gaza Strip

Uriel Sinai

Israeli Navy soldier stands behind a machine gun aboard a missile ship while Israeli Navy soldiers intercept several boats headed towards the Gaza Strip

Israeli Navy soldier stands behind a machine gun aboard a missile ship while Israeli Navy soldiers intercept several boats headed towards the Gaza Strip

Uriel Sinai

An Israeli soldier carries a blood-stained stretcher back to an Israeli army helicopter

An Israeli soldier carries a blood-stained stretcher back to an Israeli army helicopter

Maya Hitij

View from aboard an Israeli Naval vessel

View from aboard an Israeli Naval vessel

Uriel Sinai

Israeli Navy soldiers approaches a Navy missile ship

Israeli Navy soldiers approaches a Navy missile ship

Uriel Sinai

Israeli medics rush an injured man for treatment at the Rambam hospital in the northern Israeli city of Haifa

Israeli medics rush an injured man for treatment at the Rambam hospital in the northern Israeli city of Haifa

Alex Rozkovsky

A Turkish man seen next to a sign in Turkish that reads "down with Israel" and "Free Gaza" as Pro-Palestinian Turks nearby shout slogans during a protest against Israel near the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul

A Turkish man seen next to a sign in Turkish that reads "down with Israel" and "Free Gaza" as Pro-Palestinian Turks nearby shout slogans during a protest against Israel near the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul

Ibrahim Usta

Protesters burn a Star of David during a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Monday, May 31, 2010

Protesters burn a Star of David during a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, Monday, May 31, 2010

Ibrahim Usta

Israeli and foreign left-wing protestors hold placards against Israeli policies during a protest against Israeli naval commandos raid on a flotilla

Israeli and foreign left-wing protestors hold placards against Israeli policies during a protest against Israeli naval commandos raid on a flotilla

Sebastian Scheiner

Protesters clash with police officers outside the Israeli embassy in Athens, Monday, May 31, 2010

Protesters clash with police officers outside the Israeli embassy in Athens, Monday, May 31, 2010

Petros Giannakouris

Israeli police detain a masked Arab Israeli protester during clashes in the northern Arab Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm, Monday, May 31, 2010

Israeli police detain a masked Arab Israeli protester during clashes in the northern Arab Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm, Monday, May 31, 2010

Tara Todras-Whitehill

A protester cries during a demonstration at Taksim square in Istanbul, Monday, May 31, 2010

A protester cries during a demonstration at Taksim square in Istanbul, Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanassis Stavrakis

Turkish and international activists seen on the deck of a Turkish ship shortly before Israeli forces boarded the vessel carrying  humanitarian aid bound for the blockaded Gaza strip, late Sunday, May 30, 2010

Turkish and international activists seen on the deck of a Turkish ship shortly before Israeli forces boarded the vessel carrying humanitarian aid bound for the blockaded Gaza strip, late Sunday, May 30, 2010

Israeli police detain a masked Arab Israeli protester, center, as an Israeli journalist tries to interview him, during clashes in the northern Arab Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm, Monday, May 31, 2010

Israeli police detain a masked Arab Israeli protester, center, as an Israeli journalist tries to interview him, during clashes in the northern Arab Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm, Monday, May 31, 2010

Tara Todras-Whitehill

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Uriel Sinai

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Israeli left-wing protesters demonstrate against Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010

Uriel Sinai

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Uriel Sinai

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Uriel Sinai

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Israelis attend a demonstration in support of Israel following a deadly raid by the Israel military on an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza

Uriel Sinai

Israelis wearing snorkels attend a demonstration in support of Israel

Israelis wearing snorkels attend a demonstration in support of Israel

Uriel Sinai

Israeli Navy Intercepts peace boats bound for Gaza

Israeli Navy Intercepts peace boats bound for Gaza

Uriel Sinai

Israeli Navy soldiers aboard a boat as the Israeli Navy intercepts peace boats bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010

Israeli Navy soldiers aboard a boat as the Israeli Navy intercepts peace boats bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010

Uriel Sinai

Israeli Navy soldiers prepare to disembark a missile ship as the Israeli Navy intercepts peace boats bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010

Israeli Navy soldiers prepare to disembark a missile ship as the Israeli Navy intercepts peace boats bound for Gaza on May 31, 2010

Uriel Sinai

This video image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show an injured passenger on a Turkish ship, part of an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip

This video image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show an injured passenger on a Turkish ship, part of an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip

Image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show Israeli soldiers aboard a military vessel in international waters off the Gaza

Image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show Israeli soldiers aboard a military vessel in international waters off the Gaza

This video image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show Israeli soldiers aiming a gun on the deck of a Turkish ship, part of an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip

This video image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show Israeli soldiers aiming a gun on the deck of a Turkish ship, part of an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip

Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporters hold Turkish flags as they ride on their motorcycles during a protest in Gaza City, Monday, May 31, 2010.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporters hold Turkish flags as they ride on their motorcycles during a protest in Gaza City, Monday, May 31, 2010.

Khalil Hamra

Palestinians ride boats in Gaza waters as a flotilla of aid ships leaves for the blockaded territory (AP)

Palestinians ride boats in Gaza waters as a flotilla of aid ships leaves for the blockaded territory (AP)

Israeli Navy sailors embark on the I.N.S. Hanit in order to stop a flotilla of activists attempting to deliver aid to Gaza in spite of Israel's blockade May 30, 2010 in Haifa, Israel

Israeli Navy sailors embark on the I.N.S. Hanit in order to stop a flotilla of activists attempting to deliver aid to Gaza in spite of Israel's blockade May 30, 2010 in Haifa, Israel

Pool

Israeli Navy sailors embark on a warship in order to stop a flotilla of activists attempting to deliver aid to Gaza in spite of Israel's blockade May 30, 2010 in Haifa, Israel

Israeli Navy sailors embark on a warship in order to stop a flotilla of activists attempting to deliver aid to Gaza in spite of Israel's blockade May 30, 2010 in Haifa, Israel

Pool

Pro-Palestinian activists demonstrate a day before the expected arrival of a flotilla of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists carrying 10,000 tons of supplies into the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Friday May 28, 2010

Pro-Palestinian activists demonstrate a day before the expected arrival of a flotilla of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists carrying 10,000 tons of supplies into the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Friday May 28, 2010

THIBAULT CAMUS

Palestinian members of the Hamas naval police and civilian defense officers ride a boat at Gaza port during a display of their preparations ahead of the expected arrival of a flotilla of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists trying to sail into the Gaza Strip, in Gaza city, Friday, May 28

Palestinian members of the Hamas naval police and civilian defense officers ride a boat at Gaza port during a display of their preparations ahead of the expected arrival of a flotilla of hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists trying to sail into the Gaza Strip, in Gaza city, Friday, May 28

Adel Hana

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Peter Venner was seized by Israeli authorities

The expulsion of activists detained during the storming of an aid flotilla heading for the Gaza Strip is under way.

All the 679 detainees taken off the ships during the Israeli military-led action which saw nine civilians killed will be deported within 48 hours, but about 50 will be held for questioning, a statement from the Israeli government said.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary William Hague said 31 British nationals and a further 11 with dual nationality were known to have been detained after the seizure of the vessels as they attempted to breach the Israeli blockade of the territory.

One Briton who was on one of the ships heading towards Gaza arrived back in Britain on Tuesday night. IT professional Hasan Nowarah, from Glasgow, described the moment the aid flotilla was stormed by Israeli troops.

He told Sky News the Mavi Marmara ship was surrounded by helicopters and a Zodiac assault craft. He said the attack happened "out of the blue". "All I could hear was screaming and bullets all over the place, over the Marmara, the Turkish ship. All you could see was screaming and bullets. Out of the blue as I looked around our ship, all I could see were hundreds of Zodiacs. Hundreds of Zodiacs full of soldiers, and big ships, lots of ships, and I believe as well submarines in the sea."

Following a meeting of Israel's security and diplomatic cabinet, the statement said last night: "It was agreed that the detainees would be expelled immediately - according to the procedures set by law. "The interior minister announced that the expulsion will begin this evening, and the assessment is that it can be completed in approximately 48 hours."

The Israeli authorities said 50 of the 679 activists taken off the flotilla had already been taken to Israel's international airport for deportation. The rest were being held at the Be'er Sheva detention centre in southern Israel, having refused to identify themselves.

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However there was anger and concern among friends and relatives in the UK who complained that they were unable to establish contact with the detainees or find out what was happening to them.

Rachel Bridgeland, whose partner, Peter Venner, 63, from Ryde, Isle of Wight, was on the Turkish aid ship the Mavi Marmara, said that the Government should be putting more pressure on Israel. "It's absolutely terrible not knowing what has happened to him and it's terrible that the British Government hasn't done more, but they don't want to fall out with Israel," she said. "They should insist that the British people are allowed to phone us, they have done nothing illegal."

The British detainees were also thought to include Sarah Colborne, campaign and operations director for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).


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