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Israel Threatens To Pull Out Of UN Gaza Probe

Israel threatened on Tuesday to pull out of a UN probe into its deadly flotilla raid to keep the panel from grilling its troops,

as the defence minister told another inquiry the fleet was a “planned provocation.”

[View of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara which took part in the "Freedom Flotilla" as it was heading towards the Gaza Strip in May 2010. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not cooperate with any commission that would ask to question soldiers as part of a UN probe into the country's deadly raid on the Marmara. (AFP/HO/File) ]

The May 31 raid, in which Israeli commandos killed nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists,

sparked international outrage

and led to the easing of a four-year blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted there was agreement to exclude military personnel from the UN probe,

despite an earlier denial from UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

“The prime minister said Israel would not cooperate with any commission that would ask to question soldiers,”

spokesman Nir Hefetz told army radio.

“Before Israel gave the green light to its participation in the panel we had discreet negotiations in order to ensure that this commission would not harm the vital interests of Israel,” he added.

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