What occurred on the Marmara under the extremist IHH organization, is not what took place in the five other ships in the flotilla. It was extreme violence from the first moment our soldiers boarded the ship, with prior preparation to attack the soldiers with metal and wooden poles, and knives.​

 Gaza flotilla: Excerpts from press conference with DM Barak, CoS Ashkenazi and Naval Commander Marom


Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

A press conference was held Monday (May 31) following IDF actions Sunday evening with regards to the provocation aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip. The press conference included remarks by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Israeli Naval Commander Maj. Eliezer Marom.

“Tonight the IDF gained control over the flotilla which tried to enter the Gaza beaches and break the blockade. The cabinet, the Prime Minister and I instructed the IDF to take action. On one of the six ships, the protesters initiated violence. We express remorse for the injured activists, however, the full responsibility rests on the organizers of the flotilla and those participants who acted violently,” said the Minister of Defense.

Barak added that “Israel appealed to the flotilla organizers prior to it sailing and also upon its approach to Gaza, in warning and inviting the flotilla to arrive to the Ashdod harbor, and offering to transfer the aid cargo to Gaza after having it undergo security examinations. All of these appeals – prior to the flotilla setting sail and afterwards – were refused. Upon boarding one of the ships, IDF soldiers were attacked by protesters and as a result some were seriously injured. According to initial reports, ten protesters where killed and others were injured. In addition, Naval soldiers were injured, some from gunshots others from bladed weaponry and clubs. All the injured protesters along with IDF soldiers were evacuated to hospitals in Israel. We are currently assessing this ongoing situation.”

GovXParagraph3During a search aboard the maritime vessel Mavi Marmara, IDF forces uncovered a cache of weapons including many knives, slingshots, rocks, smoke bombs, metal rods, improvised sharp metal objects, sticks and clubs, 5KG hammers, firebombs and gas masks in case IDF forces fired riot dispersal means at the activists as they violently attacked the soldiers. These weapons were used against Israeli Navy personnel as they attempted to board the ship.

"The fighters demonstrated determination and courage and exhibited much restraint, and the result of casualties in the incident could have been much worse if the soldiers acted differently. In terms of injuries to our forces: one soldier sustained a severe head wound, two soldiers were injured by live fire, and one was stabbed with a knife. In all of the five other ships we did not use live fire and we succeeded in stopping and intercepting the ships.”