Israel releases 3 Turkish ships seized during flotilla violence in May

JERUSALEM (AP) — 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.

AP Television News footage shows the Mavi Marmara leaving the port of Haifa on Thursday 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.