Updated content 21 June 2010 The Israel Navy warned the flotilla that the Gaza region is closed to maritime traffic.
Attacks on Israeli forces boarding the Marmara (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)
Early Monday morning (31 May), IDF naval forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israel Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid material which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.
– 7th flotilla ship attempting to break Gaza maritime closure boarded without incident (5 June 2010)
– The Gaza flotilla: Videos
Pistols found on flotilla activists: According to reports from sea, on board the flotilla that was seeking to break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip, IDF forces apprehended two violent activists holding pistols. The violent activists took these pistols from IDF forces and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident by the empty pistol magazines.
As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces first employed riot dispersal means, followed by live fire. Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants on board the ships were planning to lynch the forces.
GovXParagraph5Video taken by IDF naval boat shows the passengers of the Mavi Marmara violently attacking IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.
Update on injuries and casualties on board the Mavi Mamara:
A total of seven soldiers were wounded – four soldiers were moderately wounded, of which two were initially in critical condition, as well as an additional three soldiers who were lightly wounded. Among the violent activists, there were nine casualties as a result of the soldiers defending themselves.
June 1: One soldier told Prime Minister Netanyahu that he had taken a bullet in the stomach and pointed out the entry and exit wounds.
A captain told Prime Minister Netanyahu that people on the ship seized the rope and tried to prevent soldiers from coming down, and that only the soldiers’ resourcefulness led to its release. "I came down second and as I did, they shot at me. Seven or eight fighters jumped on me and began to beat me with a bar. I was hit on the head and neck. Another man attacked me with a knife. I lost consciousness for 45 minutes and when I came to it was already light. My friends came and saved me."
Another soldier said that as soon as he descended, he was set upon and thrown to a lower deck. He received a severe skull fracture as a result.
Another naval soldier, who participated in the interception of the Mavi Marmara ship and sustained a broken arm while under attack by the ship’s passengers, described how the soldiers were shot at from the entrance to the ship’s corridor.
"We came with the intention of stopping the ship and taking it to Ashdod, and we did not come with the weapons we usually have, we came for something entirely different."
In the coming hours, the ships will be directed to the Ashdod port, while IDF naval forces will perform security checks in order to identify the people on board the ships and their equipment. The IDF Spokesman conveys that this event is currently unfolding and further details will be provided as soon as possible.
The IDF naval operation was carried out under orders from the political leadership to halt the flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip and breaching the naval blockade.
The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.
– Hamas refuses to allow flotilla aid into Gaza Strip
– Summary of equipment and aid aboard the Gaza flotilla
IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.
Weapons recovered on the Mavi Marmara (Photos: IDF Spokesperson)
During 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.
Bullet proof vests found aboard the Mavi Marmara
Update June 2: Video footage shows Shayetet Naval Special Forces attempting to intercept the Mavi Marmara ship, part of the Gaza flotilla. Passengers on board are seen throwing chains, metal pipes and a stun grenade at the soldiers while attacking them with water hoses. The passengers later use the same metal pipes to beat the soldiers who boarded the Marmara. The soldiers can be seen armed with paintball guns, to be used as a means of riot dispersal.
Five other ships arrived with the flotilla, and IDF interception took place with no incident. The passengers on board these other ships cooperated nonviolently with IDF soldiers and there were no injuries.
In a special meeting of the Israeli Security Cabinet on Tuesday (June 1), it was disclosed that a group of approximately 40 people with no identification papers. According to intelligence disclosed during that meeting, these protesters wore bullet-proof vests, and carried with them night-vision goggles, weapons, and large sums of cash. Each person in this group had the exact same amount of cash in his pockets. While the rest of protestors was sent to the lower deck during the Shayetet Naval Special Force’s interception of the ship, the group divided into cells and remained on the upper deck in order to attack the soldiers.
June 7: IDF appoints internal team of experts to examine flotilla operation
June 9: PM Netanyahu on appropriate inquiry regarding Gaza flotilla
June 13: Cabinet asked to approve independent public commission
(Updated June 16): The following footage was taken from the security cameras of the Mavi Marmara ship, as well as from footage found on board. It depicts the planning stage of the attack carried out against the Israeli boarding party, which included briefings of small groups of IHH members, the preparation of weapons and gas masks, and the deployment on the upper deck in anticipation of the arrival of the boarding party.
May 31: Israel Navy warns flotilla: Gaza closed to maritime traffic
Israel Navy: "Mavi Marmara, you are approaching an area of hostilities which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza area coastal region and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic. The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and invites you to enter the Ashdod port. Delivery of supplies in accordance with the authorities’ regulations will be through the formal land crossings and under your observation, after which you can return to your home ports on the vessels on which you have arrived."
Response: "Negative, negative."
In response to a radio transmission by the Israeli Navy warning the Gaza flotilla that they are approaching a naval blockade, passengers on one of the ships responded, "Shut up, go back to Auschwitz" and "We’re helping Arabs go against the US, don’t forget 9/11."