The Obama administration should probe whether the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation — whose activists engaged in a violent clash with Israeli soldiers aboard a Gaza flotilla ship on May 31 — is tied to terrorist groups, 80 U.S. Senators said in a letter to the president this week.
“We are deeply concerned about the IHH’s role in this incident and have additional questions about Turkey and any connections to Hamas,” wrote the senators. If such ties are found, the group should be added to the State Department’s terrorist watchlist, the letter advised.
The letter was organized by Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and an aide said that New York’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand , was involved in the drafting and substance of the letter.
“It is in our national security interest to stop groups that seek to breach international law and threaten our allies’ security,” said Gillibrand in a statement accompanying the letter.
Seven IDF commandos were shot, stabbed or beaten after boarding the Mavi Marmara, one of six international ships purportedly trying to bring aid to residents of Gaza. Nine of the attackers were killed by the soldiers in the battle. The crew and passengers of the other five ships offered no resistance to the boardings, which were in support of Israel and Egypt’s sea blockade of the Gaza Strip.
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