An Irish activist detained by Israel during the raid on the Gaza aid flotilla has been telling an Oireachtas committee of his ordeal.

Shane Dillon, who was deported from Israel on Tuesday, appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon.

Nine people on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the flotilla of aid vessels on Monday.

Mr Dillon told the committee that no-one aboard his vessel the 'Challenger 1' offered any physical resistance to the Israeli troops who stormed it.

Instead, he said, only verbal resistance was offered and that the Israelis were clearly informed that the flotilla was an aid/peace flotilla.

Mr Dillon said that other vessels had turned on fire hoses when the Israeli vessels approached the flotilla, but that at no stage had water cannon been used by the vessels of the flotilla.

He said the Israelis had used stun guns, assaulted people with the butt ends of rifles, pushed people to the ground and stood on them.

Mr Dillon told the committee that the commandos also used paintball guns and smashed windows.

In the aftermath of the attack the Israeli government published pictures of weapons they said were found on the boats.

However, Mr Dillon said galley knives and sledge hammers are normal and necessary items to carry on a boat.

Fianna Fáil's Michael Woods, who chairs the committee, said it is an issue of concern that Israeli Ambassador Dr Zion Evrony declined to come before the committee to answer questions about the incident.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has called for Dr Evrony to be expelled from Ireland.

Irish activists arrive in Turkey

The Department of Foreign Affairs said five other Irish people forced to leave Israel have arrived in Turkey.

A sixth is still in Israel because of problems with his passport.

Two of the Irish activists were injured in separate incidents with Israeli security personnel at Tel Aviv airport and are being treated in hospital in Turkey.

Fiachra O'Luain was treated in hospital in Istanbul for injuries that are not believed to be serious.

Mr O'Luain has been visited by officials from the Irish diplomatic service.

The family of Libyan-born Irish citizen Al Mahdi al Harati said that he called them from Turkish hospital in the early hours of this morning.

It was the first time they had heard from him since he was detained by the Israeli authorities.

Housam Najjair, his brother-in-law, said that Mr Harati is being treated in the intensive care unit of Ankara's Ataturk Hospital, after being beaten in the head and groin while in Israeli custody.

The family, who live in Firhouse in Dublin, expect him to be discharged from hospital in two or three days.

Over 460 activists from the Gaza-bound aid flotilla seized by Israeli forces on Monday arrived at Istanbul airport in Turkey early this morning.

A crowd of about 1,000 people, some chanting anti-Israeli slogans, welcomed the three aircraft, which had been chartered by the Turkish government.

The planes were also carrying the bodies of nine activists killed when Israeli commandos took control of the six aid vessels.

The nine dead are eight Turkish nationals a US national of Turkish origin.

Ban calls for Gaza blockade to be lifted

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel to lift its naval blockade of Gaza, describing it as 'counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong.'

The Israeli government had earlier said it was vital for the nation's security and would stay in place.

However, Mr Ban said Israel had to change its policy.

The Israeli army has stated that its commandos resorted to force after they were attacked with sticks and stabbed as soon as they landed on deck.

However, organisers of the so-called ‘Freedom Flotilla’ denied the Israeli account, saying the soldiers began firing as soon as they landed.

US Vice President Joe Biden said Israel had a right to act as it did and US Middle East envoy George Mitchell warned that the tragedy should not be allowed to undermine the peace process.

Israel has rejected a bid by the UN Human Rights Council to set up an investigation.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed that the Middle East Quartet - the EU, the UN, Russia and the US - join the investigation.

Rachel Corrie sailing towards Gaza

Meanwhile, the Irish-owned vessel, the Rachel Corrie, is continuing to sail towards Gaza with its 1,000-tonne cargo of medical, educational supplies and cement, a material Israel has banned from being imported into Gaza.Rachel Corrie

Part-owner Derek Graham estimated that it would be near the territory by tomorrow night or Saturday morning.

Mr Graham said: 'We expect to be in Gaza late Friday night, early Saturday morning ... We're on our way to Gaza.

'Everybody was very upset at what happened. Everybody has been more determined than ever to continue on to Gaza.'

Israel has offered to escort the vessel and deliver the civilian aid for it and said Egypt was prepared to do the same.

But Mr Graham said he was concerned not all cargo would be delivered.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not allow its Gaza blockade to be breached.

'No ship will reach Gaza. The Rachel Corrie will not reach Gaza,' he told Israel Radio.

Mr Graham said, however, he would be open to an escort from the United Nations.

'We're willing to let the UN come and inspect the cargo. We will accept an escort from the UN,' he said.

Elsewhere, the Irish Anti-War Movement held a demonstration in Dublin this evening to protest at Israel's actions.

Hundreds of protestors have formed a human barricade around the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge following the march.