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Israel Approves Inquiry into Deadly Flotilla Raid


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, arrives to attend a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem to rubber stamp the creation of an "independent public commission," to probe Israel's deadly naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last mon

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, arrives to attend a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem to rubber stamp the creation of an "independent public commission," to probe Israel's deadly naval raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last mon

Under international pressure, Israel will investigate the deadly army raid last month on aid ships heading to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Israel's Cabinet has approved an inquiry into the deadly flotilla raid two weeks ago, when Israeli commandos stormed six aid ships trying to break the blockade on Gaza. Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed, sparking international outrage.

Israel rejected demands for a U.N. inquiry, on grounds it would be biased. So with the backing of the United States, this will be an Israeli-led commission with two international observers from Canada and Northern Ireland.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the aim of the inquiry is to provide "a credible and convincing response to the ... international community" about what happened.

Mr. Netanyahu said he is convinced the inquiry will prove the Israeli army acted in legitimate self defense.

Video released by the Israeli military shows pro-Palestinian activists armed with clubs beating Israeli commandos as they boarded a big Turkish cruise ship. Photos show dozens of knives seized from the vessel.

But the raid has been broadly condemned abroad as an excessive use of force. Turkey, which unofficially sponsored the flotilla, has blasted Israel for killing nine of its citizens.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara that the Israeli inquiry is one-sided and worthless. He said if Israel does not agree to an international probe it could further harm relations between the two countries.

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