JERUSALEM (AFP) – A military probe has found Israel’s armed forces committed serious errors in preparing and carrying out the deadly boarding of a Gaza-bound aid ship in May, media reported on Monday.
The 150-page Eiland Commission report presented to Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gaby Ashkenazi on Sunday said mistakes were committed at all levels of command, from top officers to commandos, the daily Yediot Aharonot reported.
The investigators said the navy failed to sufficiently consider the possibility the troops could encounter violent resistance during the May 31 operation.
Video footage showed the commandos being beaten as they boarded the Turkish Mavi Marmara ferry, which led a six-ship flotilla seeking to bust Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli troops killed nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists, prompting worldwide outrage and severely straining ties with Ankara, once Israel’s closest Muslim ally.
The findings, to be formally released on Monday, said the clashes occurred partly because the navy had failed to deploy enough forces on the deck of the Mavi Marmara.
They also said the military failed to coordinate sufficiently with intelligence agencies in preparing for the raid, and that some of the information used was faulty, media said.
The military probe is separate from the Tirkel Commission, which is looking into the legality of the raid and of Israel’s four-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.
Israel has vowed to prevent any future attempts to breach the naval blockade, including the latest bid by a Libyan freighter, the Almathea, which currently appears to be heading to Gaza despite a flurry of diplomatic efforts to divert it to Egypt.
The ship has been chartered by the Kadhafi Foundation, a charity run by Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam.