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US backs international role in flotilla probe

world Updated: Jun 09, 2010 09:06 IST

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The United States backed calls for international participation in Israel's probe into its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla saying it was "essential" to ensure credibility.

"We understand that the international participation in investigating these matters will be important to the credibility everybody wants to see," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.

"We recognise that international participation... would be an essential element to putting this tragedy behind us and then hopefully creating some additional trust and momentum to get us to our ultimate destination, which is an agreement that ends the conflict once and for all."

"We're in conversation with (the) Israelis and others about how to best accomplish this," Crowley added yesterday.

Israel has rejected calls from a number of foreign governments and the United Nations for an international inquiry into the May 31 raid on a flotilla of aid ships seeking to break a blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Instead, Israel announced yesterday the outlines of a limited probe to examine the legality of the Gaza blockade and the raid. Reports said the investigative panel would likely be composed of Israeli jurists and ex-diplomats, potentially joined by two international observers.

The Israeli raid, which left nine dead, sparked furious responses from many in the international community, with Turkey reacting particularly harshly.

Eight of those killed in the raid were Turkish citizens and the ninth held both US and Turkish citizenship.

The United States expressed regret over the deaths and has said it is looking into the circumstances of the US citizen's death, but has refrained from offering harsh criticism or condemnation of the raid.