Israel Defence Minister defends Gaza flotilla raid

Israel’s defence minister said the government’s decision to send troops to stop a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel’s Gaza blockade was correct despite the ensuing bloodshed on board.

Ehud Barak was testifying before an Israeli inquiry commission looking into the May 31 incident.

Mr Barak told the commission’s five-member panel and two foreign observers that the pro-Palestinian flotilla bound for Hamas-ruled Gaza was a “planned provocation”.

Israeli commandos encountered unexpected resistance on board and opened fire, killing nine Turkish activists.

The bloodshed drew an international outcry and forced Israel to ease its blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza. The UN has also launched its own probe.

Mr Barak’s testimony today comes a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu testified insisting the raid was legal.

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