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Turkish report finds Israel violated international law in Gaza flotilla raid

A Turkish government inquiry into the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla [JURIST news archive] faulted Israeli soldiers Friday for violating international law. The panel's final report indicates at least two activists were killed before commandos boarded [AFP report] the Mavi Marmara, the largest ship in the flotilla. According to the report, an additional five persons were shot in the head from close range [Hurriyet Daily News report], including an injured Turkish-American who was shot execution-style in the back of the head. The Turkish report concludes that Israeli soldiers used excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate force on unarmed civilians [AP report] as part of a full-fledged and well-planned attack. The report reasons that, because Israel's naval blockade is illegal, any action related to the blockade is likewise illegal, including the raid on the flotilla.

The findings directly contradict those of Israel's Turkel Commission [official website]. Last month, the Turkel Commission, a civilian committee assigned to investigate the May 31 flotilla raid, concluded that Israel did not violate international law [JURIST report]. In September, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] released a report [text, PDF] condemning [JURIST report] Israel's interception of the Gaza-bound flotilla as a violation of international law. In August, the Turkish Foreign Ministry [official website] announced [JURIST report] that it would conduct an investigation into the flotilla incident. In July, an Israeli military probe [JURIST report] found insufficient intelligence and planning in the May 31 raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, but also concluded that no punishments were necessary.

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