THE Israeli military investigation into its naval take-over of the Gaza-bound flotilla six weeks ago has found that the operation was plagued with errors of planning, intelligence and co-ordination but that the killings that occurred on board were justified.

The full report, by Giora Eiland a retired major general, has not been published but in a statement Mr Eiland said that the military had failed to discover who was on board the flotilla ship; he said there were 60 Turkish Islamic militants armed with metal sticks and knives who had vowed to resist any attempt by Israel forces to board the ship. He also said that there was at least one gun on board because an Israeli soldier was injured by a bullet that was not from an Israeli weapon.

The report said that the Israeli commandos “operated properly, with professionalism, bravery and resourcefulness.” Nine passengers on the ship boarded by Israeli forces were killed. Their fate and the broader political and legal issues raised by the attack on the flotilla in international waters are due to be considered by a second Israeli inquiry led by a retired Supreme Court justice and including two international observers. However, this inquiry is unlikely to meet the criteria set by the United Nations Security Council for an international panel, although Israel and the United States say it will ; the Turkish government is insisting on an inquiry that meets the Security Council's standards and has withdrawn its ambassador to Tel Aviv in protest at the delay in its formation.