Israeli troops held for thefts from Gaza aid flotillaAugust 20th, 2010 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS
Jerusalem, Aug 20 (IANS) Three Israeli soldiers have been arrested on suspicion of selling equipment stolen from passengers on board the Gaza-bound aid flotilla which the navy intercepted in a deadly May 31 raid.
The cache of stolen goods is believed to include up to six portable computers and several satellite phones that had belonged to passengers on board the Turkey’s Mavi Marmara.
Military police detained the soldiers Monday, The Sydney Morning Herald said Friday, citing a report in a local daily.
The ship was raided by Israeli commandos trying to prevent the flotilla from breaching Israel’s maritime blockade of the Palestinian enclave. Nine Turkish citizens were shot dead during the raid.
According to the report, the equipment was taken from the Mavi Marmara by an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) officer who had access to the ship after it had been towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
The officer is believed to have sold between four and six computers to another soldier who served with him at the Ashdod naval base. That soldier is suspected of having sold the computers on to several other soldiers from his home town.
“”The ‘clients’ admitted under questioning that they had bought the laptops, which have already been confiscated by the police,” the report said. “The detectives believe that the soldiers knew that some of the equipment that they bought had come from the flotilla, though none of them reported the matter.”
The IDF spokesperson’s office has confirmed that an investigation is under way, but refused to say whether the equipment had been taken from the Mavi Marmara.
Earlier this week the IDF was forced to condemn as “disgraceful” a former soldier who had uploaded to the internet photographs of herself smiling next to bound and gagged Palestinian prisoners.
The photographs sparked an international outcry that prompted the release of further pictures showing other Israeli soldiers humiliating Palestinian prisoners, and apparently posing alongside dead bodies.
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Tags: blockade, enclave, flotilla, international outcry, internet photographs, israel defence forces, israeli commandos, israeli port, israeli soldiers, israeli troops, marmara, mavi, military police, morning herald, palestinian prisoners, portable computers, satellite phones, six computers, sydney morning herald, turkish citizens