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World

Aid ship attack involved mistakes at senior level, says Israeli military

In an internal probe into the deadly raid on an aid flotilla headed for the Gaza Strip in May, the Israeli military has rejected charges of negligence and wrongdoing, but admitted faulty intelligence led to mistakes.

Protest against Israeli raid in Rome

The incident sparked protests across Europe and the world

Israel's military has admitted that "mistakes were made" in its deadly response to an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip in May, but stopped short of admitting any guilt or negligence in the incident.

Without naming specific military officers, retired General Giora Eiland told reporters in Tel Aviv on Monday that "mistakes were made in the various decisions taken, including within relatively senior ranks, which contributed to the result not being as we would have wished."

Eiland led an internal investigation into the May 31 raid of a Turkish-owned flotilla carrying aid supplies to the Gaza Strip, which Israel has largely sealed off because it is controlled by the radical Islamist and anti-Israel group Hamas.

Passengers of the boat attacked the Israeli soldiers as they landed, and the soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American dual citizen.

Israeli navy boat after raid

The raid occurred off the Gaza Strip in international waters

The Eiland Committee was Israel's response to a global backlash against Israel and calls for an international probe. Israel decided to conduct its own investigation instead.

Intelligence errors

Despite its admission of mistakes, the investigation cleared the commandos who conducted the raid of any wrongdoing and said their use of live fire was "justified" because their lives were in danger.

Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said in a statement that the probe found no evidence of "negligence."

"Neither I nor the investigating team detected any omission or negligence, but certainly, in an investigation as thorough as this, errors were found which must be corrected in the future," he said.

The committee also found evidence of poor information sharing between various state intelligence agencies, and that the navy had underestimated the threat of violence by the activists on board the ship.

Author: Andrew Bowen (AFP/AP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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