Was Israeli unit Shayetet 13 behind the sabotage of Gaza-bound flotilla ships?

Shayetet 13, the Israeli naval commando unit, contains an underwater sabotage division

Shayetet 13, the Israeli naval commando unit, contains an underwater sabotage division

Two boats among the fleet of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla have been sabotaged. Passengers scheduled to sail on the second boat, the Saoirse, which hails from Ireland, discovered that the propelled had been cut and “dangerously  bent.” “If this boat would’ve gone to sea, it’s almost certain we would’ve lost lives, this boat would’ve sank,” said Fintan Lane, an Irish coordinator of the flotilla.

While Israel has not taken credit for the sabotage, all signs point in its direction. The Israeli military boasts an elite underwater sabotage division, Yaltam, that operates out of Shayetet 13, the naval commando unit that raided the Mavi Marmara last year and killed 9 of its passengers. According to SpecWarNet, an online database of international special forces units, “For underwater sabotage missions, each [Shayetet 13] diver can carry a limpet mine to attach to the hull of enemy watercraft or docks.”

The Guardian reported on Shayetet 13’s history of sabotaging civilian ships in international harbors:

[Shayetet 13], the Israeli naval commando unit that intercepted the Gaza Freedom flotilla, is one of the country’s elite military formations, with rigorous selection and training procedures and a reputation for ruthless efficiency. It is known to have been involved in numerous clandestine seaborne operations, including many raids on neighbouring Lebanon. It works closely with the Mossad secret service.

It was also involved in a curious foreshadowing of the Gaza incident in February 1988, when Flotilla 13 is reported to have sabotaged an attempt by the PLO to highlight the issue of Palestinian refugees by sailing a ship to an Israeli port, forcing Israel either to sink it or board it or let it land the refugees. The night before the vessel, al-Awda (“The Return”) was due to sail, it was blown up and sunk in Limassol harbour, Cyprus — with no loss of life or political embarrassment.

5 thoughts on “Was Israeli unit Shayetet 13 behind the sabotage of Gaza-bound flotilla ships?

  1. chayma100


    Where were the ships when they were damaged?

    In the south coast of Turkey, a town called Gocek. Apparently on Monday they did a test run, and refuelled, when a problem was discovered. Later on in the week, on Thursday, they discovered the propeller shaft had been sabotaged.

    Did Yaltam really have to go this far? All activists aboard could have been drowned if the ship had sunk at sea!

    The latest now is that Greece has banned the flotilla from sailing to Gaza!

    ‘Second sabotage’ of Gaza-bound flotilla
    Activists on Irish ship in Turkey bound for Gaza Strip claim Israel behind sabotage of vessel’s propeller.
    Last Modified: 30 Jun 2011 18:10

    BREAKING: U.S. flotilla boat stopped by Greek Coast Guard after setting sail for Gaza

    http://972mag.com/flotilla162011/ Friday, July 1 2011|Joseph Dana

    The ship’s organizers had decided to sail without permission from the Greek authorities, claiming delays in its departure were politically motivated. Earlier, Greece issued a blanket ban on all ships sailing to Gaza from its ports.

  2. biorabbi

    Max, you appear to be slightly myopic here. True, Bibi’s boys probably gutted the ships. But is it true that the Nakba protests in the Golan were “bottom up” or “top down” if you catch my drift.

  3. rachelgolem

    The flotilla is so badly infiltrators and saboteurs it can hardly function.

    There are several foreign born, Israeli navy veterans mixed in on each ship. Nobody even knows they are Jewish.

    I know one of them.

    Israeli intelligence has a special training program teaching all the lingo of the “Peace movement”.

  4. AdamAW


    thanks for pointing that out to us. It seems so obvious that they would try to do that. After all there is very little stopping them from doing so. However, surely it is difficult for them to do this for some of the countries involved in the flotilla such as India?

    Have you thought of informing the organisers about the person who you know is an infiltrator, or are you too concerned to protect his identity and/or yourself?

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