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Israel keeping flotilla ships until inquiry ends

world Updated: Jul 07, 2010 20:26 IST

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Israel says it will hold on to the six ships that sought to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza at least until it completes its investigation into a deadly raid on one of the vessels.

Israel towed the six boats to port days after naval commandos stormed the ships in May, killing nine Turkish activists on board the lead vessel. The bloodshed provoked an international outcry against Israel and forced it to ease its blockade.

Israel has rebuffed pressure for an international inquiry. Instead, it formed its own commission to investigate. Its deliberations are expected to take months.

Defence Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said Wednesday that "nothing will be done with these ships" until after the inquiry because commission members might want to inspect them.