Turkish ship – site of deadly clash
Photo: Shai Vaaknin

Army chief: More flotilla casualties possible

Preparing for another clash? Resistance to IDF forces on board upcoming flotillas may result in casualties, Chief of Staff Ashkenazi tells Knesset committee; Gaza-bound vessels 'a challenge for the IDF and for Israel,' he says

More deadly clashes to follow? Resistance on board future Gaza-bound flotillas may lead to more casualties, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned Tuesday in an appearance before the Knesset's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.


The army chief presented his assessment to committee members amid reports that another Gaza-bound ship is about to head out of Libya as part of a major flotilla to depart from Europe.


"This is a challenge for the IDF and for Israel," he said. "If we see such large ships and if we see force used, we do not dismiss the possibility of casualties," he said.


Libyan ship to head to Gaza

Ashkenazi revealed that IDF officials are aware of four flotillas being planned at this time, including one from Lebanon that he said is encountering difficulties. One more flotilla is expected to head out of Syria, and yet another one from Yemen.


However, the most distributing flotilla is one comprising dozens of ships expected to head out of Europe, he said. The vessels will be carrying passengers from various countries, including the United States.


Earlier Tuesday, a Libyan website reported that a Libyan ship is expected to leave the country and join the European flotilla en route to Gaza, with many North African parliament members on board.


"Diplomatic work is being undertaken by the Foreign Ministry in order to curb the flotillas before they depart," the army chief said. "This is better for Israel, as not to repeat the images of the Turkish flotilla."


'Too many probes'

Ashkenazi also slammed the many commissions of inquiries into the Turkish flotilla. He said that he would like to see IDF soldiers "daring and taking risks," rather than heading into probes.


"I'm not objecting to debriefings, yet we have five inquiries," he said. "A negative pattern had been created whereby every time our troops return, a commission of inquiry awaits them at the docks or at the border crossings."


"In this profession, which is about managing risks, I would like to see people daring and taking risks," he said.


Roee Nahmias contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 09.21.10, 15:34
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