Investigation: Israeli Navy Commander next to Mavi Marmara during sea assault

Haaretz has a story today reporting a new detail concerning the 30 May Israeli assault at sea on the Freedom Flotilla heading toward Gaza, during which at least nine passengers (all Turkish, one also an American dual citizen) were killed.

The article reports that “The officer who commanded the flotilla raid from its onset was Israel Navy chief, Admiral Eliezer Marom, whose command formulated the plans and was the person presenting them, in most cases, to government officials. Maron was situated in a small special-forces naval vassal alongside the Mavi Marmara as the takeover was taking place, in accordance with Israel Navy protocol, which stipulates that the top officer present should have a line of sight, as much as possible, to the event itself. Radio recordings of the operation document Marom giving out specific technical orders to the special-forces team during the flotilla takeover” …

Haaretz correspondent Amos Harel, author of the piece, also says that “Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi was not present in the IDF’s Tel Aviv command center during the first part of the maritime takeover of the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, Haaretz learned Sunday. Instead, the most senior officer supervising the raid was Major General Tal Russo, IDF Chief of Operations, with Ashkenazi arriving only after the takeover had taken a turn for the worse … The absence of both Ashkenazi and Ganz from the command center as the raid began prevented those present from immediately relying on their experience as the fast-paced events unfolded. In addition, a reported imbalance was created between Marom, the top commander in the field, and the officers at the Tel Aviv command center. It is argued that Russo, being the less senior officer, could not have served as an adequate counterpoint to the veteran and assertive navy chief. The IDF’s Spokesman’s Office told Haaretz in response that the chief of staff’s bureau chief was present at the navy command center during the takeover and updated the IDF chief as events unfolded, as is customary. The spokesman added that Ashkenazi arrived at the command center as soon as the takeover had taken a violent turn, and began overseeing the operation, including the evacuation of those wounded“.

This new information is reported here.

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