Bulgarian journalists captured by Israel return home

Bulgarian journalists captured by Israel return home

The two Bulgarian journalists, Svetoslav Ivanov, a reporter, and Valentin Vassilev, a cameraman, employed by private Bulgarian television channel bTV, who were embroiled in the ill-fated Gaza aid convoy and subsequently captured by Israeli troops, have returned to Bulgaria.Both were reported to be in good health on arrival at Sofia airport, although they said they felt they had taken part in "an action film".Apparently, both of them had been in an "information vacuum" for two days until they were contacted by Bulgarian diplomats in Tel Aviv. They said that, for three days, they had been isolated and forbidden to make phone calls.Ivanov said that the Israelis had confiscated his medication for high blood pressure. He had not received any medical attention from the authorities until his release to Bulgarian diplomats.Meanwhile, Turkish planes carrying hundreds of activists from the Gaza aid flotilla, intercepted by Israeli forces, have arrived in Istanbul from Israel where they received an "enthusiastic welcome" .They were also greeted by Turkey's deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc, the BBC World Service reported.The bodies of nine people killed when the ships were stormed by Israeli troops were also repatriated to Turkey.Israel has remained unapologetic, insisting they were merely defending their own territory, and that because they are in an effective state of war, they had no choice.Since the flotilla repeatedly declined the offer for aid to be distributed through legitimate channels, and since they did not take the warnings that they would be intercepted seriously, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had "no choice" but to storm the ships on May 31.But the row is escalating dramatically in scale as activists accused Israeli forces of brutality and the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council voted to set up an independent international inquiry into the raid.According to international media reports, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said that Israel must lift its blockade of Gaza immediately, calling the siege "counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong".

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