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Egypt reacts to flotilla killings, Israeli siege on Gaza

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador to Cairo today to officially condemn the violence on board a vessel in the international aid "Freedom Flotilla" originally destined for Gaza.

At least 10 people were reportedly killed after Israeli naval commandos took control of the vessels in international waters off the coast of Gaza.

Egypt’s President Mubarak condemned "Israel's use of excessive and unjustified force that led to the loss of innocent lives," according to a report from Agence France-Presse. The Foreign Ministry in Cairo called the event “tragic,” saying it underscores the “seriousness of the illegality of the continuation of the unjust Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.”

Gaza has been under complete Israel blockade on land and sea since Hamas took control in 2007.

But at home and abroad, Egypt too is often accused of aiding the siege by sealing its short land border with Gaza, as well as with the construction of a new underground wall to curtail tunnel smuggling.

This afternoon, around 40 people protested outside the Foreign Ministry, denouncing Egypt’s role in the blockade on Gaza.

Demonstrators, waving Egyptian and Palestinian flags, screamed “Down with Mubarak!” and chanted slogans critical of America’s foreign aid to both Egypt and Israel.

“We hate the American government,” said Mohamed Morsy, a protester and executive member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, an illegal but semi-tolerated opposition group.

At least one Egyptian Member of Parliament from the Muslim Brotherhood was reportedly detained by Israel’s navy on the flotilla.

“President Obama said many hopeful things in his speech last year, but nothing has been achieved,” Morsy said. “He is not capable of doing anything against Israel.”

http://www.globalpost.com/notebook/egypt/100531/egypt-reacts-flotilla-killings-israeli-siege-gaza