The IDF is determined to stop the Turkish flotilla to Gaza, a senior IDF officer said Wednesday.
"If we allow one ship carrying flour to reach Gaza the next one will have dangerous materials and the third will carry dangerous weapons inside bean bags. We must now allow this," the officer said. He rejected the concept of allowing inspection mid sea explaining this will be very hard to implement.
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The Navy will hold a drill Wednesday simulating a takeover of a ship as part of efforts to draw conclusions from the deadly IDF raid on the Marmara last year which left nine dead.
Marmara ship after refurbishment
The senior officer claimed the flotilla was completely redundant as Gaza is not in an emergency state and because the Gaza port does not enable cargo to be unloaded from vessels. "We are without a doubt more prepared and will know how to deal with a provocation of this type," he said.
Israel has spent the last few months working to get Turkey to dissuade the IHH activists from taking part in the flotilla, but Ankara has refused.
However, last week Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged the flotilla organizers to reconsider the need for a sail in light of the newly opened Rafah crossing. He also urged Israel to act wisely and avoid past mistakes.
The Navy has various non-lethal means enabling a better handling of a possible violation of the Gaza blockade. Commandos have simulated a quick takeover of the ships in case soldiers will be forced to go on board. "We have good combatants who know how to operate and will do their part in the best possible way," the IDF officer said.
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