Flotilla probe panel gets expanded authority


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet unanimously approved expanding the authority of an Israeli inquiry into the Navy’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla.

The commission, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, will now be permitted to subpoena witnesses and receive sworn testimony, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

Israeli soldiers will be excluded from the expanded powers, since the military already has launched a probe into the May 31 incident, which left nine passengers dead, according to the statement.

Turkel last week had threatened to resign unless his independent committee was given the right to conduct a full judicial inquiry, according to Israeli reports. He also had requested to add two members to the committee; that request was not addressed Sunday.

The commission now will have similar powers as the Winograd Commission, which was established following the Second Lebanon War.

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