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General News    H2'ed 6/5/10

Activists: Israeli boat raiders had "assassination list"

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Dem lawmaker: Prosecute US members of Gaza flotilla

Passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, the ship raided by Israel Monday, claim they found what they say is a list of people the Israeli military intended to target during their raid, a news report out of Great Britain states.

In an interview with the UK's Independent on Sunday, Al Jazeera reporter Jamal Elshayyal said passengers who rummaged through Israeli solders' belongings during the raid found a list of names, accompanied with pictures, of people aboard the flotilla that aimed to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.

The Independent's Catrina Stewart reports:

[T]he protesters rummaged through captured soldiers' belongings and claimed to unearth a document that they allege is a list of people Israel intended to assassinate. The booklet, written in Hebrew and in English, contained some photographs of passengers on the Marmara, including the leader of IHH, the Turkish charity that provided two of the ships, an 88-year-old priest and Ra'ad Salah, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Mr Elshayyal said.

A military spokesman, Lt Col Avital Leibowitz, insisted soldiers acted in self-defense and that she "was not aware" of any list.

The allegations appear to directly contradict the Israeli government's claim that its Marines arrived aboard the Mavi Marmara unprepared for violence, and were taken by surprise by angry activists. The passengers' claim of an "assassination list" has not been corroborated.

The Israeli government's claims that the Gaza flotilla had links to al Qaeda and Hamas stem largely from the involvement of IHH, a Turkey-based Islamic charity organization that operates in many countries in the Muslim world.

Israel has accused the group of having links to terrorist organizations, and the group has been banned in Israel since 2008. The US does not list IHH as a terrorist organization.

The Independent's Stewart suggests that a recent autopsy report -- showing that the flotilla members killed in the raid were shot repeatedly and at close range -- strengthens the argument that they may have been targeted for assassination.

An autopsy report from the Turkish council of forensic medicine, obtained by the UK's Guardian Friday, showed that the nine dead had been shot a total of 30 times, "many fired at close range."

According to the autopsy report, US citizen Fulkan Dogan was shot five times from less than three feet away. Dogan, a 19-year-old native of Troy, NY, was a dual US and Turkish citizen who was living in Turkey at the time of his death.

Another person killed in the raid was a "journalist taking photos," the Independent reports, quoting passenger Hassan Ghani, who said the person "was shot ... between the eyebrows, which indicates that it was not an attack that took place from self-defense."


A Democratic member of the US House of Representatives says he wants to see US citizens aboard the Gaza flotilla prosecuted for providing aid to terrorists.

In a conference call organized by The Israel Project, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) told reporters that activists participating in the flotilla were aiding Hamas and therefore breaking US law.

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