Israel reports discovery of arms cache on board Gaza aid ship
Israeli security forces have reported finding a weapons cache on board the Turkish-flagged merchant vessel in which around 10 pro-Palestinian civilian activists were killed during a boarding operation by Israel Navy (IN) commandos.
The deaths occurred during close-quarter fighting between individuals travelling in the Mavi Marmara – one of six vessels in a convoy that attempted to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza on 31 May – and members of the Flotilla 13 (Shayetet) naval special forces unit.
Later that day the ship was brought into the Israeli port of Ashdod, where searchers found "a supply of weapons including knives, Molotov cocktails, detonators, wood and metal clubs, slingshots and rocks, large hammers and sharp metal objects", according to the Israel Defence Force (IDF). "In addition gas masks were found, pointing to the
prior intention of the ship's passengers to use violence against IDF soldiers who would then be forced to use riot dispersal methods."
Mavi Marmara was the largest vessel in the convoy that left Cyprus on 30 May carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip, which has been under Israeli blockade since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in the 25 mile-long territory in 2007.