Netanyahu: Group Who Attacked IDF Troops Boarded Ship Separately

Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog tells cabinet meeting: It is time to lift the siege on Gaza, find worthy security alternative.

The Turkish activists who attacked Israel Defense Force soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara last week boarded the ship separately, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday at the beginning of a cabinet meeting.

"They organized and equipped themselves separately [from other peace activists aboard the flotilla] and boarded the ship in a way that allowed them to avoid a security check," Netanyahu said, speaking one week after Israeli navy commandos boarded the Gaza-bound aid ship Mavi Marmara and were beaten by the passengers on board. In the resulting melee, nine activists were killed and dozens, including Israeli soldiers, were hurt.

"Their clear intention was to initiate a violent confrontation with IDF soldiers," Netanyahu said. "The world is beginning to become aware of this information."

Netanyahu did not speak about the possibility of investigating the incident, although a meeting between him and a forum of seven ministers is planned for Sunday night in order to discuss the different proposals for an investigation.

At the start of the cabinet meeting, Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog said that there was "a need to examine ways to increase aid to Gaza."

"The time has come to lift the siege and find a worthy alternative to ensure Israel's security. Now that the dust is beginning to settle after what we've been through, we can now begin a dialogue with sister nations," he added.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz responded to Herzog's remarks by saying that the siege on Gaza was necessary and that "lifting the blockade will bring more missiles with longer range flying toward Israeli towns."

Since the incident, both the United Nations and the U.S. have conveyed to Netanyahu different proposals for investigating the clashes, but the prime minister has yet to comment on any type of investigation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu