Activist: 'Israelis kept firing even after we sent out SOS'

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The Independent Online

The first British campaigner to return to the UK following Israel's assault on the Gaza aid flotilla has accused troops of ignoring SOS pleas from wounded passengers and deliberately firing live rounds at unarmed activists.

Sarah Colborne was one of more than 500 passengers on the Mavi Marmara when it was stormed by members of the Israeli Defence Force earlier this week. She arrived back in Britain yesterday after spending two days in an Israeli jail.

At a press conference in central London, the 43-year-old, who is director of campaigns and operations for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said the firing of live rounds continued even as the ship's public-address system blasted out SOS appeals and told the activists not to resist. She also claims a number of medics who were helping attend to the wounded and dying were handcuffed by soldiers.

"The Israeli military were firing on us," she said. "We had no arms. We made two attempts to get the message across in the written form. We wrote a sign in Hebrew saying 'SOS! Need medical assistance. People are dying. Urgent.'"