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Elderly activist shot and 'let bleed to death'

An elderly man was shot and then left to bleed to death after Israeli commandos stormed the Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza.

Released activists who had been on board the 'MV Mavi Marmara' claimed yesterday that the commandos waited more than an hour before treating the wounded.

Canadian Farooq Burney (37) described how an elderly activist died after being shot in the chest. "We couldn't see where he was hit so we opened up his lifejacket and we could clearly see that he was hit in the chest, he was losing a lot of blood," Mr Burney said.

"It was on. . . the right, just close to his chest and there was blood coming out from there. He passed away," he added.

Mr Burney also said activists who snatched pistols from the commandos removed the bullets and threw them into the sea, contradicting Israeli assertions that the weapons were used against the boarding party.

Cartridges

"They basically took the guns away from them and took the cartridges out and threw them away," he said.

Bulent Yildirim, the head of a Turkish charity that organised the aid flotilla, said the activists had rushed some of the soldiers and snatched their weapons, but had thrown them overboard without using them.

"Yes, we took their guns. It would be self-defence even if we fired their guns," Mr Yildirim said, adding that people were not willing to use the weapons.

"We told our friends on board: 'We will die, become martyrs, but never let us be shown . . . as the ones who used guns'," Mr Yildirim said.

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