ISTANBUL - The head of an Islamic charity group that organized the pro-Palestiniang aid flotilla to Gaza says the beating of some Israeli soldiers during a bloody raid that killed nine activists was in self defence.

Bulent Yildirim, who was deported from Israel along with hundreds of activists, says activists also seized weapons of some Israeli soldiers but threw them into the sea. He says the activists attacked the Israeli commandos with chairs and sticks in self defence.

Yildirim says Thursday "even if had used the guns that would be still a legitimate self defence," accusing Israel of raiding the ships in international waters on Monday.

Yildirim vowed to organize bigger convoys by land and sea if Israel does not end the blockade of Gaza.