World

Israeli troops acted legally in ship raid: report

An Israeli commission of inquiry is defending Israel's actions during last year's deadly raid on a protest flotilla bound for Gaza.

Turkish PM dismisses inquiry's findings

A photograph taken May 22, 2010, shows the Mavi Marmara as it sets sail from Turkey carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip. ((Free Gaza Movement/Associated Press))

An Israeli commission of inquiry is defending Israel's actions during last year's deadly raid on a protest flotilla bound for Gaza.

In findings released Sunday, the Turkel Commission unanimously concluded that Israeli soldiers did not violate international law when they raided the Turkish-led flotilla.

The six-vessel flotilla was intercepted May 31 as it attempted to break Israel's blockade of the territory. Israel has said the blockade prevents the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.

Nine Turks died during the raid on the lead ship, Mavi Marmara. The nearly 300-page report from the governmnent-appointed commission said soldiers fired in self-defence.

The report, to be Israel's submission to a UN inquiry, said the actions of the troops were "found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law."

The commission included four Israelis and two international observers, including Brig.-Gen. Ken Watkin, Canada's former chief military prosecutor, and David Trimble, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Northern Ireland first minister.

Turkey's prime minister has dismissed the findings of the Turkel Commission. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on Sunday that the report has "no value or credibility."