Israel Prepared to Stop Next 'Freedom Flotilla'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli officials say they are prepared to stop another "freedom flotilla" if it tries to break through its blockade of the Gaza Strip. However, some military officials are concerned about the possibility that the next flotilla could be escorted by the Turkish Navy.

A Turkish Navy escort for another flotilla is a remote, but serious consideration for Israel's military. In the meantime, Israel plans to release more than 100 people who were on board the ships they detained with more expected to be released in the next few days.

Dozens of the passengers have been suspected of having connections to global jihadist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. The main organizer behind the flotilla - IHH, or the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (Insani Yardim Vakfi) - has connections to Hamas and al Qaeda. A Kuwaiti paper reported many had prepared for martyrdom and were even asked to write out their wills.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited some of the soldiers who took part in the raid. The soldiers said they fought for their lives once they landed on the deck of the Mavi Marmara and did not harm any unarmed civilians.

Read Netanyahu's statement here.

Demonstrations continued in Turkey on Tuesday and Turkish Prime Minister Erdowaan called the incident a "massacre." He warned Israel not to test Turkey's patience and said Israel must answer for its deeds.

"I think the big tragedy in the Middle East this year if you want a headline is Turkey," Erdowaan said.

Former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. Dore Gold instead said the spotlight should be on the increasingly Islamist government of Turkish Prime Minister Erdowaan.

"The question that should be asked is not why did Israel board these ships," Gold said. "The question that should be asked is why is someone in the Turkish government giving support to an organization that connected with global jihadi terrorism. That's the question the U.N. should be inquiring about but instead the lights are on Israel."

The White House said it supported a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an investigation into Israel's raid. But it has stopped short of condemning Israel's actions.   

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