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      Ashkenazi: a 'Naval Shield' will Meet Next Flotillas

      After taking responsibility for Gaza flotilla raid, IDF Chief of Staff vows that the next flotillas will be different stories.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/11/2010, 10:12 PM / Last Update: 8/11/2010, 10:14 PM

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      After taking responsibility for the problematic nature of the May 31 IDF naval raid on the “Free Gaza” flotilla, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday that the next enemy flotillas will be met differently.

      “We know that the next flotillas that will try to break through our borders and the weapons ships that will try to arm the terror organizations will be blocked by the naval defensive shield of the State of Israel, of the Navy,” Ashkenazi said at a graduation ceremony of the Navy's Ship Captain Course, at a naval base in Haifa.

      "In these times, when the sea and shores of the Middle East are even more stormy than in times of routine, we all look at the de-legitimization campaign that our enemies are conducting against the State of Israel, including the next flotillas,” he said.

      Earlier in the day, Ashkenazi testified before the Turkel Committee appointed to probe the raid, and acknowledged there were problems with the IDF's intelligence on the nature of the flotilla, and in the way the raid was carried out. 

      Brigadier-General (res.) Tzvika Fogel, former Head of Southern Command, said Wednesday that the Chief of Staff's testimony before the Turkel Committee marked a return to sanity. “It is very fortunate that the Chief of Staff took responsibility for the IDF's actions, or they would have summoned the Naval Commando soldiers to testify as well,” Fogel said. “The Chief of Staff put an end to the dishonorable saga that was taking place here, with each person rolling responsibility on the other.”