June 3, 2010

Three Turkish Airlines planes carrying 466 activists and nine bodies landed Thursday morning in Istanbul, marking the end of the activists’ involvement in a humanitarian mission to aid Gaza that went tragically awry, an official said.

Their numbers included several wounded people, and their arrival occurred several hours after they departed from Tel Aviv, Israel, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told CNN.

Most of the passengers were Turks, who made up the majority of the activists whose mission to challenge the Israeli blockade and deliver medicines, wheelchairs and building materials to Gaza turned into a bloodbath Monday morning in international waters off Gaza and sparked worldwide recriminations against Israel.

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