I obviously can’t vouch for this, and governments and militaries have been known to engage in CYA after botched operations. And Israel lost its chance to thoroughly investigate the ship rioters when it decided to release everyone immediately to placate Turkey. With all that said, the highlights:
(1) Some passengers tried to take captive three commandos who lost consciousness as a result of the activists’ blows, according to early findings of a navy investigation. The three were dragged into one of the passenger halls below deck and were held there for several minutes.
(2) As seen on a video documenting the takeover, the first four commandos to rappel onto the deck were attacked by activists with bars, axes and knives. The fourth commando, K., saw his team leader on the deck, with a Turkish activist holding the pistol he had grabbed from him and pointing it to his head. K. jumped from the rope and managed to shoot the activist holding the gun. This happened 20 seconds after the first soldier landed on the deck.
(3) The soldiers reported that the activists had fired on them during the confrontation and that at least two commandos suffered gunshot wounds. After the incident, 9mm bullet casings were found – a kind not used by the naval commandos.
The Israel Defense Forces says that during the operation a number of pistols and an M-4 rifle were taken from soldiers, but they believe that the Turkish activists had other weapons. The captain of the ship told the naval commando chief that the guns were thrown overboard before the ship was completely taken over. [Note to Israeli p.r. people: if this is true, why don’t you have a video of him saying so on YouTube?]
(4) Post-operation assessments have the number of hard-core activists involved in the fighting at between 60 and 100. It appears that they were well trained and experienced, especially in view of the arsenal found and code books used to pass on orders from group leaders…. All were apparently experienced in hand-to-hand fighting. Some of them did not retreat when shots were fired.
(5) No real peace activist* was injured.
*Remember how I pointed out a few days ago that Israeli officials buy into the other side’s story line by referring to pro-Palestinian activists as “peace activists”? What they mean here as is that none of the pro-Palestinian (Hamas?) activists who were not engaged in violence were injured. As I noted previously, it’s precisely this mentality–that the other side is composed of misguided but well-meaning “peace activists”, that likely led to the lack of proper preparation to begin with.
UPDATE: The flotilla was organized by the “Free Gaza” movement. Here’s its website. Are they “peace activists?” I can’t find anything on the site suggesting that Hamas should declare its peaceable intentions toward Israel and act on them, which would not only be a peaceable action in and of itself, but would lead to a cessation of violence between Israel and Gaza, and a lifting of the embargo. A real peace activist wants “peace”, not an Israeli surrender to Hamas.