Soldier on 'Marmara': 'I thought I was going to die'

Israeli Navy commando testifies to Turkel committee about an attack by a violent mob wielding clubs and bars aboard the flotilla ship's deck.

mavi marmara weapons 311 (photo credit: IDF)
mavi marmara weapons 311
(photo credit: IDF)
“I thought I was going to die, it was much worse than what we call a danger to your life,” an Israeli Navy commando who was severely beaten and temporarily taken captive by the violent mob aboard the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger ship last May said in testimony revealed on Sunday.
The testimony appeared in the Turkel Committee’s report submitted to the government on Sunday as well as in a report published by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
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Identified as Soldier A. in the report, the Navy commando described how he was immediately lynched upon landing on the Mavi Marmara’s upper deck after fast-roping down from an Israeli helicopter.
“Before my feet hit the deck about 10 men jumped on me and started beating me with clubs, iron bars, their fists and anything else they could find. They beat my whole body, but they focused especially on my head and face. I have to make it clear that at that point I wasn’t armed,” the soldier was quoted as saying in the report.
“That was when I knew my life was really in immediate danger.”
Soldier A. was thrown over the side of the upper deck to the ship’s bottom level and broke his arm upon landing.
After landing, he said, another mob started choking him while driving fingers into his eyes in an attempt to gouge them out.
“At that point they acted like they were fighting an enemy and had come to kill him, that is, kill me. I kept waiting for the blow to my head that would kill me,” he testified, adding that he was later hospitalized with skull fractures and two cranial hemorrhages.
Another commando, identified as Soldier B., said that he encountered a frenzied mob with “insane eyes full of hate.
“All the people surrounding me were hitting me as hard as they could, especially my head. They were in a frenzy, screaming ‘Allahu akbar’ [‘Allah is great’] over and over. They were hitting me all over,” he said.
After he was taken down to the lower levels of the ship, he was told in English that they planned to kill him, according to the soldier.
“They dragged me down a ladder, two men, one above and one below – while they were dragging me by my pants they started coming off and my shirt hiked up,” he said. “I saw that there was massive bleeding and I could see my intestines spilling out of my stomach.”