Jerusalem: A top Israeli diplomat has claimed that there were dozens of terrorists mixed in with peace activists on the flotilla his country`s Navy boarded last month.
"They were associated with al Qaeda and other terror organizations," CNN quoted Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Daniel Ayalon as saying in a pre-taped interview airing on Sunday.
"They are graduates of Afghanistan or - or Iraq. They had a hierarchy," Ayalon added.
"They were arranged in a military-type or paramilitary organisations. They were well equipped. And they were ambushing our soldiers. They occupied the higher deck - the top deck - to wait for soldiers," he said.
Ayalon`s comments mark one of the harshest descriptions of the individuals targeted by Israel`s raid of the Turkish ship on May 31, when nine people were killed.
The flotilla was one of six ships carrying peace activists and aid supplies to Gaza.
The boats carried hundreds of people, including a US film producer, an Irish Nobel Peace Prize winner and a Swedish author.