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Obama Says Gaza Aid Flotilla Incident 'Tragic'

Cigdem Topcuoglu, the wife of slain activist Cetin Topcuoglu mourns over his coffin at an Istanbul mosque on June 3.
U.S. President Barack Obama has described as "tragic" this week's deadly raid by Israel on a Gaza aid flotilla, in which nine activists were killed.

In a CNN interview, Obama said the incident should show the Israelis and Palestinians that the "status quo is unsustainable" and the two sides should take steps to advance their peace process.

Obama declined to condemn Israel for ordering military forces to storm the ships in the flotilla, saying Israel has "legitimate" security concerns and that not all the facts about the incident in the eastern Mediterranean on May 31 are known.

U.S. officials have announced that a 19-year-old U.S. man of Turkish background was among the nine people killed in the Israeli raid on the Turkish-led flotilla. All the others were reportedly Turkish nationals.

The flotilla incident has severely strained ties between Israel and Turkey, which are both key U.S. allies.

compiled from agency reports