Vilnai: No innocents were hurt

Deputy Defense Minister commends Shayetet 13; heckling Arab MKs removed.

Ashkenazi-Barak2010 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ashkenazi-Barak2010 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
All of the nine activists killed in Monday's IDF raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla were involved in violent clashes, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Knesset, Vilna'i said that the elite Navy commando were "unique in the world."
"While their friends are being lynched," he said, the Shayetet 13 soldiers were "calling on each other to hold fire."
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Throughout Vilnai's speech he was heckled by Arab MKs, as well as Right-wing ones, and finally six of them were removed from the room, only to be allowed to return shortly after. Rioght-wing MKs were heckling as well, and one of them was removed.
Earlier Wednesday
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the commando unit the government was thankful to Shayetet 13 for its efforts in the Navy raid.
"I have come on behalf of the Israeli government to thank you," he said.
Barak also noted that the elite unit had been placed in a very difficult situation during the Monday operation.
"We are not in Western Europe: here there is no reward for the weak, there is no second chance for those who do not know how to defend themselves."
Accompanying the defense minister was IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who came to review the procedures and the exact details of Monday's raid.
Barak: 'You did what you were supposed to do'
The defense minister went on to reiterate the government's position on the commando unit's action, telling them that they "did exactly what [they] were supposed to do."
Barak and Ashkenazi then discussed with the unit the exact time-line and procedures of the mission, from the moment they began compiling intelligence to the operation's execution.