Israel to Investigate Flotilla Attack

The Israeli military plans to examine what it calls the failures and lessons of its bloody assault on a Gaza-bound multinational relief mission.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced the probe on Monday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has appointed reserve General Giora Eiland to head the board of inquiry, which will investigate the Freedom Flotilla incident.

The Israeli military attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea early on May 31, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the M.V. Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.

Israel also arrested nearly 700 activists from 42 countries on board the Freedom Flotilla, which was attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian assistance to the long-suffering people of the territory. Later orders were issued for their deportation.

Three Freedom Flotilla activists, Aydin Atac, Celebi Bozan, and Osman Kurt, are still missing.

The board of inquiry will take into account internal Israeli navy testimonies and report the results to the General Staff by July 4.

Tel Aviv has rejected the United Nations proposal for an international probe.

Also on Monday, an Israeli government forum decided to establish an internal investigative panel, partly in coordination with the United States, Israeli media outlets reported, according to Reuters.

The Turkish Prosecutor’s Office in Bakirkoy, Istanbul has already started an investigation in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considered the main suspect and Ashkenazi and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak are also suspects.

On Monday, Barak denied that the three-year blockade of Gaza is depriving its 1.5 million residents of food, fuel, and other necessities. "There is no humanitarian crisis or hunger in Gaza," he stated.

(Press TV)

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