Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited the Shayetet 13 base in Atlit on Wednesday and praised the commandos who participated in the deadly raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla on Monday for carrying out their mission, Army Radio reported.

"You carried out the mission and prevented the flotilla from reaching Gaza," Barak said. "We need to always remember that we aren't North America or Western Europe, we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak and there aren't second chances for those who don't defend themselves. You were fighting for your lives – I saw it, and I heard it from your commanders."

Barak was accompanied on the visit to the base by IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Navy commander Eliezer Marom.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed on Monday in clashes that occurred as naval commandos took control of the Mavi Marmara ship, one of six aid vessels intercepted by the IDF. Seven soldiers were wounded, two seriously.

Footage released by the Israeli military showed the activists attacking the commandos as they boarded the ships.