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In Qatar, Israeli minister defends attack

31 May 2010 16:20

An Israeli minister, who is in Qatar to participate in a World Economic Forum summit, says that Tel Aviv had warned the Freedom Flotilla of an attack beforehand.

Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer is the first Israeli minister to visit Doha since the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces.

“We were aware to what might happen — we warned them, and we told them that all that they were going to do is provocation,” Eliezer told AFP on Monday.

Qatar severed ties with Israel and closed Israel’s trade office in Doha in protest at Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip.

It has not been confirmed whether the minister would meet with any officials from Qatar.

The Monday’s visit coincided with another brutal Israeli attack. The Israeli navy attacked the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy, killing at least 20 activists in the early hours of Monday.

The move was widely condemned by the international community. Turkey, Greece, Spain and Sweden summoned Israeli ambassadors to their respective countries, in response to the move.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council is expected to hold a meeting on the issue.

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