Israeli troops 'not ready for flotilla battle'

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Israeli troops were not ready for the violent resistance they met when they boarded a Gaza-bound aid ship and killed nine pro-Palestinian activists, the country's top military officer said yesterday. Speaking to an inquiry, the Israeli Defence Forces Chief of Staff, General Gabi Ashkenazi, gave the most detailed explanation yet of what went wrong with the raid on 31 May.

IDF commandos failed to clear the decks with stun grenades, General Ashkenazi said, and the raid quickly became "chaotic". "After the first soldier went down the rope there was no choice but to continue with the plan," he said. Suppressing fire from alongside the ship would have cleared the deck of anyone ready to violently resist the boarding, he added. This was "a lesson we have learned".