Israel's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon has admitted that the deadly raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship last week that left nine people dead was characterised by failure.
"In a place where citations should have been given, someone failed to prepare a standard operating procedure," Ya'alon, a former army Chief of Staff and the acting Prime Minister on the day of the operation told Council Heads of the ruling Likud party.
"The decision was right, but there is room for improvement – and I am not going to elaborate," he was quoted by news portal Ynet as saying.
Ya'alon, who was officiating as the Prime Minister on the day of the incident because of Benjamin Netanyahu's absence in the country, however, praised the troops for their bravery.
"The fighting on the deck was heroic and took place under impossible conditions," he said, adding that "there were some malfunctions during the planning and operational stages".
"I warned of this before the incident," the minister stressed.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Gabi Ashkenazi, ordered a formal external inquiry into the naval raid on Monday.
The probe, meant to derive operational conclusions from the deadly events which took place aboard the ship Mavi Marmara, the sail's lead vessel, will be conducted by a panel of experts headed by Maj-Gen (ret) Giora Eiland.
Others in the committee include, Brigadier-General Aviv Kohavi, who once headed the Operations Directorate, former Chief Intelligence Officer Brig Gen (res) Yuval Halamish and Colonel (res) Ben Zion Da'abul, who held senior posts in the Navy and the defence establishment.
The panel is expected to submit its findings by July.