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Probe blames Israeli navy for flotilla raid

By Harinder Mishra
July 12, 2010 21:02 IST
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An internal probe by the military has found serious errors by the Israeli navy while preparing and carrying out the deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed, sparking a global condemnation of the Jewish state, a media report said on Monday.

The 150-page Eiland Commission report criticises intelligence gathering and forward planning. It faults the navy of failing to sufficiently consider the possibility that the commandos would encounter violent resistance when attempting to keep the ships out of Gaza, daily Ha'aretz reported. The internal probe by Israel Defence Forces on the deadly raid onboard the Turkish aid ship on May 31 will be released later on Monday. Even though, it doesn't call for disciplinary action against particular officers, it criticises the navy for not cooperating sufficiently with espionage agencyMossad in gathering information ahead of the flotilla's arrival and failing to discuss the process through which the raid was approved, the daily said.

Israel's celebrated espionage agency Mossad had come under flak for failing to warn the establishment of such a possibility, with some columnists demanding that its head resign in the wake of the international criticism. Nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed in the May 31 raid after they used clubs and knives to attack Israel commandos boarding the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara ship. Israel had earlier made clear that it will not allow ships to anchor at the Gaza coast in order to enforce its blockade of the Islamist Hamas ruled Gaza Strip, but had agreed to transfer the humanitarian goods onboard the six ships.

The military committee, headed by Major General Giora Eiland, is the first to complete its investigation on the matter and its report comes on a day when the Supreme Court has expressed its desire to extend the scope of another commission of inquiry investigating the issue under the chairmanship of a retired judge, allowing it to question soldiers who participated in the raid.

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Harinder Mishra in Jerusalem
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