Israel releases Turkish aid ships

The three freed flotilla vessels include the Mavi Marmara, where troops clashed with protesters in a confrontation that killed nine Turks.

JERUSALEM // Israel has released the Turkish protest ship that was the scene of bloodshed in a botched raid two months ago and it is en route to Turkey. News footage showed the Mavi Marmara leaving the port of Haifa this afternoon. The ship and two others released were part of a flotilla sailing toward Gaza to protest Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Israeli troops intercepted the boats on May 31 and clashed with pro-Palestinian activists on board the Marmara, leaving nine Turkish citizens dead. The bloodshed provoked an international outcry and this week, Israel agreed to an international investigation. Israel's Defense Ministry says Turkish ships arrived to escort the vessels back. * Associated Press