Seven out of the nine passengers who were killed aboard the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger ship on May 31 had expressed their desire to die before the flotilla set sail for the Gaza Strip, according to a report put out Tuesday by an Israeli research center.

According to the report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center – known as MALAM – eight of the nine passengers belonged to the IHH radical Islamic group and other Turkish organizations that, MALAM claimed, have a radical Islamic character. The report quoted a Turkish newspaper in which one of the passengers, 19-year-old Furqan Dogan, said that he wanted to be a martyr.

“These are the last hours before I join the sweet experience of being a shahid. Is there anything more beautiful than this?” the newspaper quoted from Dogan’s diary.

The MALAM report cited “growing evidence” that seven out of the nine passengers killed had “in one way or another” expressed their desire to die as martyrs aboard the flotilla.

The IDF has claimed that the nine were part of a group of mercenaries that attacked navy commandos with clubs, knives and metal bars as they boarded the ship’s upper deck.

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