x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Israeli soldiers 'stole laptops from Gaza aid flotilla'

Five arrests over alleged theft of computers from aid ship after interception by Israeli navy.

JERUSALEM // Two Israeli soldiers are suspected of having stolen computers from the Gaza-bound aid flotilla which the navy intercepted in a raid on May 31 in which nine people were killed, Israeli media reported yesterday. One soldier suspected of selling the computers was arrested on Monday, together with three other soldiers who bought the stolen goods. Military police also arrested a second lieutenant suspected of stealing the computers from one of the ships, the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot said.

The officer had access to the ships after they were taken to the port of Ashdod after their interception in international waters. Military police suspect that the officer took between four and six laptops off one of the ships. A military spokesman confirmed that military police had opened an investigation, but added: "For now it has not been established that the theft was from one of the boats in the flotilla."

Naval commandos boarded the six ships that sought to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli blockade, killing nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara ferry owned by the Turkey-based Islamic charity IHH . Israel says the soldiers fired in self-defence after they were attacked with clubs and knives but activists claim the Israelis opened fire as soon as they rappelled down from helicopters onto the upper deck of the Mavi Marmara. * AFP