Israeli probe of flotilla raid `impartial`: US

An Israeli probe ruled that a May 2010 raid on Gaza-bound ships was legal.

Washington: The United States on Monday described as `credible and impartial and transparent` an Israeli probe into a May 2010 raid on Gaza-bound aid ships that killed nine Turks.

In its report, Israel`s six-member Tirkel commission concluded that both the raid and the blockade of the impoverished Palestinian territory complied with international law.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon`s panel remains the `primary forum for the international community to review the incident’. But he called the completion of the first part of the Israeli probe `an important step’, as it looked to the release of the second part over the next few months.

“We think that this is an independent report, credible and impartial and transparent investigation that has been undertaken by Israel,” Crowley said.

“And it will contribute to the broader process that continues through the (UN) secretary general,” he added.

In its preliminary findings released the same day, a Turkish investigation said Israeli troops had used `disproportionate` force in boarding the flotilla of ships to prevent them from reaching Israeli-blockaded Gaza.

The assault earned the Jewish state international censure, prompting Israeli MPs to appoint a commission headed by former judge Yaakov Tirkel to examine both the military operation`s legality and Israel`s blockade.

Bureau Report