Israeli army lack enough intelligence before raid on flotilla: army chief

08:04, August 12, 2010      

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Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday that the army lacked enough intelligence, especially about the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), one of the main organizers of the flotilla, before its raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in late May.

"We didn't know enough about the (IHH) organization, and we didn't investigate it. It was not on our list of priorities like other groups," Ashkenazi told members of the Turkel Commission on the third day of the testimony into the raid, during which nine activists were killed.

Responding to questioning by the retired Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, who heads the investigation, Ashkenazi said that the assumption was that Turkey was not an enemy state, and the IHH was not considered as a terrorist group but "outlawed."

The Israeli government charges that the IHH is affiliated with groups that a number of governments have designated as terrorist organizations, which the IHH denied.

Turkey on Tuesday rebutted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism over Turkey's support for the Gaza-bound ships, saying Israel should first take responsibility for the raid.

"Israel should first take responsibility for killing innocent people on international waters instead of accusing us," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a press conference.

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