Officers: Lack of intel hampered raid

Light resistance only expected on flotilla takeover.

By
June 2, 2010 06:18
2 minute read.
IDF footage from the Monday raid.

gaza flotilla raid 311. (photo credit: IDF)

 
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Insufficient intelligence appeared to be the main cause behind the tragic outcome of the navy’s operation on Monday morning, during which commandos rappelled down onto the Mavi Marmara and encountered what the IDF called a well-planned lynch.

“We prepared for an operation involving light resistance,” one navy officer said on Tuesday of the operation that ended with at least nine dead passengers and dozens more wounded.

“We anticipated that the soldiers would get spat at and maybe slapped. We did not expect that the soldiers would be met by a mob armed with bats, knives and metal pipes,” said the officer.

Capt. R., commander of the squad of elite naval commandos who boarded the ship, said that hundreds of passengers on the Mavi Marmara had participated in the violent clashes.

“Dozens of people waited for each of us on the upper deck,” he said from his hospital bed in Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. “They held bats, axes and knives. I was the second one down the rope, and the soldier before me was already under attack.”


Capt. R. said that the force had prepared for passive resistance as well as light violence, but not for the type of aggressive resistance that they met on the ship early Monday morning.

“We thought there would be verbal and passive violence, but not to the level we encountered,” he said. “Everyone who came toward us wanted to kill us. We encountered terrorists who wanted us dead, and we used all of the means at our disposal so those who shouldn’t get hurt would not.”

Capt. R. said he had then been attacked by a group of about 20 passengers armed with bats and knives. The passengers grabbed him and threw him from the upper deck to the deck below.

“At this stage I felt a stab in my stomach and realized there was a knife there,” he said. “I took out the knife, went down another floor, where there were a lot of passengers. At this stage the force had already taken command of the ship, and together with another soldier, I jumped in the water and was picked up by our ships. Another soldier who was hit hard on the head was unconscious and was guarded by the other soldiers until we were able to evacuate him from the ship.”

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