Tuesday, Aug. 04
Latest News
  1. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  2. Yemen rebel chief says ready for political settlement
  3. Turkey's Erdogan says Putin may 'give up' on Assad
  4. Israel president threatened over 'Jewish terrorism' comment
  5. Iraqi Kurdish leader vows to avenge Yazidis
  6. Turkey vows 'whatever necessary' in fight against militants
  7. 'Hundreds' of Gulf Arab troops enter Yemen's liberated Aden
  8. Kerry in Qatar to assure Gulf allies over Iran deal
  9. Teen stabbed at Gay Pride march dies as pressure mounts on Israel
  10. Kerry pledges support for Egypt in Cairo talks
  11. UAE to try 41 on charges of seeking 'caliphate'
  12. Two Turkish troops killed in 'PKK suicide attack'
  13. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  14. Exiled Yemen PM makes symbolic Aden visit to lead restoration
  15. New Taliban leader calls for unity in ranks in first audio message
  16. Iraqi Kurdistan leadership says PKK should leave
  17. Kerry lands in Egypt on first leg of Mideast tour
  18. Iraqis protest over poor services, salty tap water
  19. Dozens dead as Syria army 'pushes back rebels near regime heartland'
  20. Yemen PM returns to Aden from Saudi exile

Israel army chief says forces fired 308 bullets on flotilla

Oct. 24, 2010 2:35 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 26, 2010 9:07 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli commandos fired 308 live bullets aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship in May, Israel's army chief said on Sunday as he testified again before the Tirkel panel investigating the incident.

Gabi Ashkenazi said the navy's killing of nine Turkish nationals on the Mavi Marmara had been unavoidable, British news wire Reuters reported.

Although commandos were equipped with riot-dispersal gear, it quickly switched to live fire "because if they had they had not done this, there would have been more casualties," Ashkenazi told the six-member panel. He added that rubber bullets, commonly used by forces in the West Bank during Palestinian demonstrations, were not used because of the confines of the ship.

Ashkenazi said 308 live rounds were fired by the troops. A top aide to the general told Reuters 70 of these were aimed to cause injury, while the rest were warning shots.

The news wire said the amount appeared consistent with Turkish forensic findings that the nine dead were shot a total of 30 times, and there were gunshot wounds among another 24 passengers who were hurt.

'Commandos hit those involved in attack'

Ashkenazi said passengers grabbed three Glock handguns and an Uzi machine pistol from commandos whom they overpowered but those on board have said that all weapons taken from troops were disposed of.

"We have testimony of one activist running at them [marines] and firing with a mini-Uzi, and them shooting him," he said. "They hit those who were clearly involved in the attack on them, and not those who were not."

The UN Human Rights Council -- which Israel boycotted -- alleged in a report last month that several passengers may have been executed. According to the report, one of the victims sustained a fatal brain injury from a so-called "beanbag" round -- a heavy pad fired from a shotgun and which, at safe ranges, is designed to knock down the person targeted.

Ashkenazi said commandos had fired 350 beanbag rounds and non-lethal paintballs, all according to "prescribed method."

Backing the commandos' account, Ashkenazi said they were combat veterans who "know when they are being shot at." But he also seemed to make allowances for the haze of melee.

"I won't take issue with a soldier who might confuse a slingshot, and the whizz its missile makes as it flies past, with a pistol, in night-time" conditions, he said.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015