'Rachel Corrie' aid ship boarded by Israelis

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by KING Staff and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on June 5, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 5 at 1:31 PM

JERUSALEM - The Israeli Navy boarded the MV Rachel Corrie. The Irish-based cargo ship is carrying aid supplies for Gaza.

Those aboard included Mairead Corrigan, who won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, and the former U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, Denis Halliday.

The Israeli Defense Force released a video showing troops boarding the vessel.

The Israeli military said its forces boarded the ship from the sea, not helicopters, and that they did not encounter any resistance.

The ship is named after an Evergreen State College student killed by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003.

The Rachel Corrie carried hundreds of tons of aid, including electric wheelchairs, medical supplies and cement. Israeli officials said the cargo was to be unloaded in Ashdod, and items permitted under blockade rules would be taken to Gaza by land. Cement could be shipped in if the U.N. takes delivery, officials said.

On Friday night, an Orcas Island man arrived back home in Washington state after spending most of the week locked up in an Israeli jail.

A large crowd welcomed David Schermerhorn as he arrived at Sea-Tac Airport. The 80-year-old was part of last week's humanitarian convoy to Gaza when Israeli commandoes stopped the ships.

In that confrontation, Israeli forces rappelled from a helicopter onto the deck of the Turkish lead ship, clashed with club-wielding activists awaiting them and at some point opened fire.

Eight Turks and a Turkish-American were killed, and a preliminary autopsy report released by Turkey Saturday said they were shot a total of 30 times. Of the nine, five were shot in the head and back, and one was shot from close range, the report said.

Israel said its forces acted in self-defense against what it described as Islamic extremists.

Schermerhorn said he was not aboard the Turkish boat. He said no one was seriously hurt on his ship.

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