Israeli leaders have praised soldiers who killed pro-Palestinian activists on board an international aid ship bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the commandos on Tuesday during a visit to the Atlit naval commando base.
“The action taken was vital, necessary, legal and of the utmost importance,” Netanyahu said.
On May 31, Israeli troops attacked the Mavi Marmara ship in international waters, killing nine Turkish peace activists and injuring dozens of others.
The brutal assault sparked international outrage across the world.
The international aid convoy was trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to the impoverished people of Gaza, who are under an Israeli siege since 2007.
Israel claimed that its commandos attacked after activists started the violence. Activists on board, however, said the commandos opened fire as soon as they touched the upper deck of the ship.
“You acted against those who tried to kill you. Your response was professional, heroic, restrained and ethical,” AFP quoted Netanyahu as saying.
Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi praised the troops for their actions in halting the Mavi Marmara.
“You shot those you should have shot and didn’t shoot those you weren’t supposed to shoot,” he said.