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Israeli Navy probe: Commandos weren’t prepared

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An internal Israeli Navy investigation into the interception of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla found the commandos were not prepared for an attack by the passengers.

The elite Shayetet 13 unit was not prepared and lacked enough intelligence information, the internal probe found, according to an Israel Radio report on Sunday. The investigation found that under the circumstances the officers acted appropriately, according to the report. The boarding of the Turkish-flagged ship the Mavi Marmara should only have occurred after using water hoses and smoke grenades on the passengers waiting on deck, the report said.

Meanwhile, a Gaza-bound flotilla scheduled to leave from Lebanon has not yet received approval to set sail, the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported Sunday, according to Israeli media reports. Lebanese law prohibits ships leaving its ports to dock in a port under Israeli control. No official travel request has been filed as required by law, according to the report. The organizers could submit a travel plan to another destination and then switch course, the newspaper said. The flotilla is to carry up to 70 women as well as food aid.

Israel has appealed to other countries and the United Nations to halt the Lebanese flotilla. On Sunday morning, Israel told the United Nations and Lebanon through a third party that it will use all necessary means to stop ships from breaking its blockade of Gaza.

"Israel reserves its right under international law to use all necessary means to prevent these ships from violating the existing naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, wrote in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
 

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