Ashkenazi: Navy fired 308 projectiles at Freedom Flotilla activists

Ashkenazi: Navy fired 308 projectiles at Freedom Flotilla activists


Israeli Military Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi, testifying Sunday for the second time before Israel’s Turkel committee, reiterated his full support for his soldiers’ deadly massacre against a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in late May.

“It was completely in line, without any reservations, with the method of taking control of the Mavi Marmara ship,” he said, adding that the soldiers only fired at “deserving” individuals.

Ashkenazi confirmed that the military force fired a total of 308 bullets at the Marmara aid ship during an operation to “restrain” the passengers by force. Nine were killed and dozens of foreign activists were injured amid the bombardment. A chief aide to Ashkenazi told Reuters that 70 of those projectiles were meant to inflict injury while the rest were warning shots.

The statements apparently match with forensics in Turkey, which revealed that 30 bullets were fired against the nine murder victims and 24 other passengers sustained gunshot wounds.

Activists aboard the ship said all weapons seized from the forces were disposed of and not used. A report issued by the UN Human Rights Council said that a number of passengers may have been executed.

The report added that one of the murder victims was shot in the head by a machine gun used for immobilizing a target and not for killing

For his part, Mohammed Zeidan, the head of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Palestine, who was on board the Mavi Marmara said he will make a mandatory appearance before the Israeli Turkel investigation committee to give his testimony.

Zeidan told the AFP: “The Turkel committee called me in the beginning to give my testimony, but I refused and sent them a letter clarifying my refusal to give my testimony, but they forced  me to appear tomorrow on Monday in the city of Jerusalem to offer my testimony.”

“I explained in my letter that I do not want to cooperate with this commission because it is assisted by the government, which is on one side, and because the committee has no jurisdiction, and, in the political aspect, its presence is illogical. I believe it is meaningless and its recommendations are unacceptable,” he added.

“Yet they sent me a letter saying that according to the law they are able to take me and force me to appear to testify, me and Sheikh Hammad Abu Daabes, the head of the Islamic Movement’s Southern Wing.”