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South Africa recalls ambassador over Israeli raid of Gaza flotilla

South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel in a sharp rebuke over the Israeli raid of a Gaza flotilla this week as the fallout continue to spread over the raid, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

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Palestinians supporters show their support, to the people that died on the Turkish flagship attacked by Israel troops in international waters, in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, June 3, 2010. South Africa has recalled its ambassador to Israel, in response to the Israeli commando raid on a flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip Monday.

AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam

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South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel on Thursday in the latest of a mounting cascade of diplomatic rebukes to Israel over its killing of nine pro-Palestinian activists aboard a ship seeking to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Israel's Gaza flotilla raid in international waters Monday has damaged Israel's international standing. Britain sharply criticized the raid, close Middle Eastern ally Turkey threatened to cut ties if Israel doesn't mend its ways, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to Israel's blockade of Gaza, which he said "punishes innocent civilians." Turkey and Ecuador have also recalled their ambassadors.

South Africa has now joined that chorus. An official at the Ministry for International Affairs said that South Africa would call back Ambassador Ishmael Coovadia “for consultations,” a statement of protest just one step short of a full breakdown in diplomatic relations.

IN PICTURES: The Gaza flotilla and the aftermath of the Israeli naval raid

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