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Updated: May 31, 2010 17:30 IST

Swedish author Mankell on Gaza ship, cancels German sales tour

DPA
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Swedish State Secretary Frank Belfrage tells newsmen in Stockholm the Swedish Foreign Ministry hasn't been able to get in contact with the 11 Swedish citizens, which include crime novelist Henning Mankell, who are aboard the ships which have tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Photo: AP.
Swedish State Secretary Frank Belfrage tells newsmen in Stockholm the Swedish Foreign Ministry hasn't been able to get in contact with the 11 Swedish citizens, which include crime novelist Henning Mankell, who are aboard the ships which have tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Photo: AP.

Munich Henning Mankell, the best—selling Swedish author who was one of the protestors in the failed seaborne bid to break the Gaza blockade, has cancelled a book promotion tour to southern Germany, his German publisher said in Munich Monday.

A Monday evening visit to Zurich, Switzerland and a Tuesday reading for book lovers in Konstanz, Germany were called off.

The Paul Zsolnay publishing house in Munich said it had no details on Mr. Mankell’s well—being or where exactly he was on Monday morning.

The Free Gaza organization said Mr. Mankell had been on board the passenger vessel Marmara when the Israeli military stormed it.

The publisher said whether Mr. Mankell keeps up with the remainder of his schedule in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Braunschweig on June 3—5 depended on developments. Mr. Mankell is author of the Wallander series of crime novels and has a huge following in Germany.

Russia views Israeli convoy attack critically

A military action against a controversial aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip that left 10 dead was “unjustified,” a Russian official told the Interfax news agency in Moscow on Monday.

“It was a humanitarian, not a political action, and that means it was unjustified to use military force against the participants,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the country’s parliamentary foreign policy committee, as reported by Interfax.

The Freedom Flotilla had been making its way to provide relief supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip, despite warnings from Israel and admonitions to use a pre—approved border crossing. The confrontation came early Monday as the flotilla approached Gaza.

Mr. Kosachev demanded an “immediate” meeting of the Mideast quartet, which consists of Russia, the US, the UN and EU, to discuss the incident. Depending on Israeli answers to certain questions, the issue might have to be referred to the UN Security Council, he said.

Pak condemns attack, concerned about three citizens

Islamabad Pakistan strongly condemned the use of “brazen force” by Israel on a flotilla of aid ships to Gaza, and expressed grave concerns about three of its nationals on the mission.

“The killing of members of this humanitarian mission, which also included women, is brutal, inhuman and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and norms,” the Foreign Office said in Islamabad.

It expressed concerns about the safety of an aid worker and two journalists — Aaj Television executive director and anchorman Syed Talat Hussain, and his producer Raza Mahmood Agha, who were covering the event.

“The Foreign Ministry is in constant touch with its Missions in the region to ascertain the well—being of our nationals,” a spokesman said.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said the international community should take notice of the “brutal act” and help ensure the safe return of all civilians including Pakistanis.

Appeal to United Nations

Dozens of journalists, aid workers and right activists held a rally outside National Press Club office in Islamabad, chanting: “Death to terrorist Israel” and “Palestinians are our heroes.” Tariq Chaudhry, the head of National Press Club, urged the United Nations to take immediate steps to secure the release of the three Pakistanis.

Mr. Chaudhry said Aaj television lost contact with Mr. Hussain and Mr. Agha after the Israeli naval attack.

Several current and former lawmakers attending the rally demanded that Israel be declared a terrorist state for atrocities committed against Palestinian people for decades.

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