Israel Tried To Avoid Flotilla Harm, Says PM

SRAEL'S Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he told his military commanders to make a supreme effort to avoid harming anyone before it's May 31 interception of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens. In testimony before a judicial inquiry investigating the incident, Mr Netanyahu emphasised that his major concern was how to minimise damage to Israel's public image. All operational aspects related to the enforcement of the maritime blockade of Gaza, Mr Netanyahu said, were handled by the senior command of the Israel Defence Forces. ''I ordered that a supreme effort was to be made not to harm anyone,'' Mr Netanyahu said he told a meeting of his inner cabinet on May 26.