>Published 23:37 18.08.10
Latest update 23:37 18.08.10
IDF soldiers suspected of theft from Gaza flotilla ship
At least four soldiers being detained on suspicion of stealing and selling laptops belonging to activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ship, Israeli media report.
By Haaretz Service
Tags: Israel news Gaza flotilla IDF
Military Police arrested an Israel Defense Forces officer suspected of stealing laptop computers from activists aboard the Gaza-bound aid ship raided by Israeli commandos in May and selling them to other officers.
The officer allegedly sold the computers to a friend, who in turn sold them to friends of his. Three officers who are suspected of having bought the computers have also been detained for questioning.
The Mavi Marmara, aboard which Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla resulted in the deaths of 9 Turkish activists, leaving Haifa on August 5, 2010
Photo by: AP
The officer, who holds the rank of first lieutenant, allegedly stole between four and six computers from activists on the Mavi Marmara, which was trying to break the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip when Israel raided it, leaving nine Turkish activists dead.
Israel Navy commandos boarded six ships that made up the Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31, in an effort to prevent them from breaking through an Israeli marine blockade and reaching Gaza.
The naval commandos who boarded the sixth ship – the Mavi Marmara – were met with violence and nine Turkish activists were killed in the subsequent clashes.
News of the officers’ arrests was first reported by Ynet, which quoted a high-ranking officer who said, “The investigation has just begun, but as it appears now it will prove embarrassing and shameful. These are soldiers who don’t understand what their uniform represents.”
Israel Radio reported that cellular phones were also stolen from the activists.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said the Military Police had opened an investigation, but said it remains unclear if the computers in question were indeed stolen from the Mavi Marmara activists.
In June, an Italian journalist who was detained by the IDF following the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla says his credit card was used to purchase items after it was confiscated by the Israeli authorities.