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JERUSALEM — Facing a furious international dispute and widespread condemnation, Israel on Wednesday began expelling hundreds of activists detained on board a flotilla of ships challenging its three-year blockade of Gaza.
Israeli officials said hundreds of people from the six ships were taken from a detention center to the airport at Tel Aviv and to the land border with Jordan. More than 600 people were held after the confrontation at sea on Monday in which at least nine civilian activists died in clashes with Israeli commandos.
The episode ignited international outrage and intensified pressure on Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza, a coastal enclave run by the militant Hamas movement.
Arthur Lenk, a lawyer at the Israeli foreign ministry, said Israel believed it had legal grounds to prosecute the protesters, but had also weighed the likely diplomatic and political consequences of doing so. On balance, he ...