Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza today. Egypt's governor of northern Sinai, Murad Muwafi, told the Associated Press that the crossing should be open for several days "to alleviate the suffering of our Palestinian brothers after the Israeli attack" on the flotilla.
The United Nations Security Council issued a statement calling today for an "impartial, credible and transparent" investigation conforming to international standards for yesterday's Israeli commando raid of the Gaza-bound flotilla.
The Council also requested Israel release the six ships in the convoy and the civilians in custody, and allow full consular access for the involved countries to reach their dead and wounded.
About 480 pro-Palestinian activists from the Gaza-bound flotilla captured in the raid have been detained at a prison in the Israeli port city, Ashdod.
Harutunian said that at least four of the reported nine dead are Turkish. He had no details on the injured.
New details of the nighttime raid today emerged as people released by Israel arrived back home and described what happened.
"They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used," Greek activist Dimitris Gielalis, who had been aboard one of the six ships the Sfendoni, told the Associated Press.
Gielalis, who returned home today, said the boat's captain was beaten for refusing to leave the wheel and a cameraman filming the raid was hit with a rifle butt in the eye by Israeli soldiers.
German lawmaker Hoeger said the women aboard the passenger ship Marmara said the women were checked one by one. "Our personal belongings were taken away. Then we were handcuffed with cable retainers and brought to the upper deck."
"They were obviously looking for weapons. They raided and slashed all the suitcases of all passengers and everything was all over the place," Hoeger said.
Aris Papadokostopoulos, who was aboard the ship Free Mediterranean that carried mainly Greek and Swedish activists, said his ship was carrying a cargo of wheelchairs, building materials and medicine.
No one resisted on the Free Mediterranean, he said, but people on board were struck by the Israelis. "Some people were hit by clubs and electric shocks," he said.
The Israelis insist that they fought back after their soldiers were attacked by the ships' passengers with metal rods and pepper spray and point to video of the raid showing the soldiers being struck and one soldier being tossed over the side of a ship.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today called the raid on the ships a "bloody massacre… that deserves every kind of curse." Turkey, which had long been one of Israel's few allies in the Muslim world, withdrew its ambassador to Israel on Monday, stating the already strained ties could be damaged, possibly irreparably.
Dr. Anat Lapidot-Firilla, an expert on Turkish policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem faculty, called the ambassador's removal a very serious move.
"In diplomatic terms, the next step is to send the Israeli ambassador back home, which would mean the end of the relationship today," she told ABCNews.
Lapidot-Firilla said Turkey is probably expecting an apology from Israel. "Regardless of the nature of their activism, they are Turkish and it needs some answers from their point of view," she said.