A decade on to take over the hostile ship - the fighters restore: "We have never encountered violence as passengers have operated" • "Intelligence has been lacking" • Special
Exactly a decade has passed since the Israeli takeover of the Marmara flotilla trying to "break the siege" on Gaza. End of the event is known: Difficult images of deceased warriors being thrown off the deck, three seriously wounded fighters, "abducted" soldiers in the abdomen of the ship for long minutes, and nine terrorist operatives who found their deaths.
Archive: IDF Spokesman
Beyond the repercussions on Israel's and Turkey's relations, the incident is accompanied by the 13th Fleet Fighters who were given the task of taking control of the Marmara and encountered severe violence. One of the fighters was Major (res.) N., the sixth soldier to march on Marmara. He said that even a decade later, the subject is still sensitive for some of his friends.
"It was not the first flotilla that we needed to stop, nor the last one," the fighter describes in a conversation with Israel Today. "The unusual thing about this flotilla was a very large number of sailors. In Antalya, some 60 IHH terrorist operatives in Istanbul have also risen, "he noted.
He said, "In the flotilla that preceded the Marmara, we met peace activists, but not terrorists who received money to kill IDF soldiers."
Due to poor intelligence, preparations for the Marmara flotilla takeover operation were not much different from previous flotilla preparations. "It was actually to Marmara maybe we were even a little more prepared," said Chief of Staff (Res.) N., who also served as a paramedic. With Hawaiian shirts. We came armed, with vests and firearms, even though the media reported we went down with weapons of color, "he explained.
"I got a rod in my head"
Commander (Res.) N. was in the first helicopter crew to glide at the Marmara. "At 4:30 we arrived with the helicopter over the Marmara," he recalls. It endangers those in the helicopter. We were prepared for the option of surfing on one rope. We threw a few grenades to the ship that did no damage except for a strong 'boom' and a flash of light, threw the other rope, and the whole crew started to ski to the top deck, 'which he returned.' Within a minute we were already 15 fighters down, on board. '
As soon as Captain (Res.) N.'s feet touched the ship, three terrorists had already attacked him. "I got an iron rod in my head, the helmet flew by. They started beating me with axes, lumens and hammers. The first thing that came to my mind was, 'What's going on here?' I have never encountered such violence. When the third pole hit me in the head, the token trying to kill me fell over me. So I grabbed my weapon and shot one of the terrorists. "
He said the whole event took five minutes. N. took his case and began treating the wounded. At that point, more crews were on board, and about 40 minutes later, other fighters from the unit were already at sea. "The guys in the second helicopter already knew we were moving to live weapons, and told them to go down with live weapons."
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Major N didn't really want to talk about it, but one of his friends was "abducted" by IHH activists, and it took the fighters a long time to understand and find it. "I just know I met him after 40 minutes and treated him medically," he said. "From the moment the fight was over, five minutes after we went downstairs, and until 6am, for about an hour and a half, I treated the wounded."
After the evacuation of his friends, from 06:00 until noon that day, Major General N treated with 55 other Turkish medical personnel. "They gave them the best medical treatment," he stressed.
At 8pm, Major N and his comrades arrived at Ashdod Port aboard the Marmara, and after a brief conversation with the Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff, the unarmed warriors traveled to another wedding of a member of the team, who was not on board with them. "I was with a broken hand, but we celebrated until the morning light."
"The media echo was crazy, but the commanders did a good job," he noted. "I did not feel a sense of failure. I suppose those who were injured did not feel a sense of victory, because in the end you come into a healthy situation and come out seriously injured. As a unit, we succeeded in the mission." He said, "This was by far my most publicized event in the military service, but not necessarily the" craziest "operation I participated in."
"Ten years is a long time, but it takes each of us at a different point," he notes. "I think about this event. It shapes you. On a practical level, this event gives proportion to life."
"We realized there was a crack"
According to Major (res.) A (pseudonym), a sailing officer who took part in the operation, "there were (in N's crew, some) who took it personally. At the time, they were having nightmares." A. and his soldiers slid into another ship, which is not the Marmara. "On the way in the helicopter, we realized that there was a crack. In the flotilla preparations there were cases and reactions, but in retrospect, it is clear that intelligence was lacking." Nor is it important to emphasize that, contrary to reports, all fighters also had firearms.
He said after the incident the feeling in the unit was difficult. "The public actually hugged us and supported us, but it was something that went wrong and turned into something crazy. As obscure fighters we did no less complex things, but everything was done quietly. Suddenly here is exposure to the world."