The first British survivor of the assault on the Mavi Marmara Gaza aid ship to return to London has told of her terror as Israeli troops ignored SOS calls for medical aid and continued to fire live rounds at activists.
Sarah Colborne, director of campaigns and operations at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who was on board the Turkish ship when the Israeli navy mounted a raid early on Monday, gave a press conference in central London still wearing her grey prison fatigues from her spell in jail in Be'er Sheva, southern Israel. She described how she saw one man fatally wounded from a gun shot to the head and how passengers feared for their lives as Israeli troops trained laser sights on the activists through the ship's windows.
Colborne, 43, from London, insisted the activists on the boat were on a purely humanitarian mission and the passengers were aged between one and 89. She claimed:
• Unarmed activists were shot by Israelis using live ammunition;
• The death toll of nine is likely to rise, because some activists remain missing;
• The Israelis ignored calls over the Tannoy and on written signs calling for them stop firing and to evacuate the critically injured;
• The Israeli forces handcuffed members of the activists' medical team who were sent to help treat the injured.
Colborne said she was positioned on the deck when the assault was at its peak.
"It felt a bit surreal," she said. "I couldn't quite believe they were doing what they were doing.