'Navy to do it differently next time'

By
June 7, 2010 05:40

IDF: ‘Hürriyet’ pics prove soldiers opened fire only after attack.

The Israel Navy has begun drawing lessons from last week’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara Turkish protest ship and will, in the event that additional vessels try to break the Israel-imposed sea blockade on Gaza, use different methods to commandeer them.

Last Monday, commandos from the navy’s Flotilla (Shayetet) 13 fast-roped down from Israel Air Force helicopters to the upper deck of the Mavi Marmara and encountered a group of well-trained mercenaries who attacked them with bats, metal bars and knives. The soldiers fought back and killed nine men.



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“We will do things differently in the future,” a senior IDF officer involved in planning such operations told The Jerusalem Post. “There are issues that have to do with the timing of such a boarding, the way to distract the attention of the people on board from what is really happening.”


The ,Post has also learned that already two years ago, the Shayetet asked the Defense Ministry’s Research and Development Directorate (MAFAT) to develop technology that can be used to stop large cargo or passenger ships, like the Mavi Marmara, at sea.

“This is not a simple task and currently there is no such technology,” a senior defense official said. “The navy has been in touch with MAFAT for a couple of years already with the goal of developing such technology.”

Advisory issued to soldiers against traveling to Turkey

Meanwhile on Sunday, the IDF issued an advisory forbidding all soldiers from traveling to Turkey. The military advisory follows a similar recommendation that was issued last week, following the navy operation, by the Counter-Terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office.

On Sunday, Turkey’s top newspaper, Hürriyet, published pictures of Shayetet 13 soldiers, with some of them appearing helpless and possibly unconscious, badly beaten and bloodied.

The paper claimed these images were censored by Israel and were deleted from memory-cards when the activists’ cameras were in Israeli hands.

The IDF said that while the images were difficult to look at, they proved Israeli assertions that the soldiers only opened fire after they were attacked and their lives were in danger.

One of the images showed a soldier, with blood dripping down his head, being led down a staircase, seemingly into the lower decks of the Mavi Marmara.

The IDF has identified a group of about 50 men – of the 700 on board – who were well-trained and were stationed throughout the ship, mostly on the upper deck, where they laid an ambush for the soldiers.


IDF releases names of passengers with terror ties

Also on Sunday, the IDF released a list of at least five passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara who have ties to terrorist organizations.

They were named as Fatima Mohammadi, Kenneth O’Keefe, Hassan Ansey, Hussein Orush and Ahmed Omemun. It was unclear whether they were involved in the fight with naval commandos last week.

O’Keefe, according to the IDF, is a known American-British anti-Israel activist who wanted to enter Gaza to undergo training and help establish a commando unit for Hamas.

Another passenger, identified as an Iranian-American, allegedly tried to bring illegal electronic equipment into Gaza. A French national aboard the ship was identified by the IDF as a Hamas operative.

The IDF also noted links among the passengers to Viva Palestine, the IHH and al-Qaida.
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