IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said in a press conference Monday that the violence aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships of the Gaza-bound protest flotilla, was instigated by those aboard the ships and that soldiers who opened fire were defending themselves.
Ashkenazi noted that the Mavi Marmara, the only ship on which violence took place, was different than the other five ships of the flotilla. He said that five ships carried humanitarians and peace activists but the Mavi Marmara was sponsored by the extremist organization the IHH and those aboard acted in "extreme violence."
The IDF chief said that those aboard the ship had weapons and fired upon soldiers with guns that may have been stolen from soldiers. He said that several soldiers were injured, some from shooting and stabbing.