Greece suspends military exchanges with Israel over deadly aid flotilla attack

08:13, June 01, 2010      

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Greece suspended a scheduled visit by Israel's air force commander to Athens on Monday, following a deadly Israeli military operation against a flotilla transporting humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Furthermore, Greece canceled an ongoing joint air exercise with Israel, code-named "Minoas 2010," the Greek Ministry of Defense announced on Monday. The exercise started on May 25 and was due to run through June 3.

Earlier, Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas had summoned Israeli Ambassador to Greece Ali Yahia to formally complain and ask to be informed on the situation of the 34 Greek nationals who participate in the humanitarian mission. The mission was organized by European and American activists with a Turkish humanitarian organization.

One Greek citizen, along with dozens of others, were reportedly injured while up to 20 people were killed, according to the latest information, when Israeli forces stormed the ships which had departed from international waters off Cyprus coast on Sunday.

Protests are scheduled later on Monday by Greek activists, unionists and citizens outside the Israeli embassy in Athens which is guarded with increased police forces. A similar rally will be held in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki the same day and another one is planned on Tuesday in Athens.

"It is Greece's longstanding position that any activities undertaken by non-governmental organizations must go unhindered, under the obvious condition that said activities are legal, said a statement released by the Greek Foreign Ministry on Monday morning.

Source: Xinhua


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