By YAAKOV KATZ
The IDF has identified one of the passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara , which navy commandos commandeered earlier this week, as the ringleader of a group of mercenaries who were recruited from a city in northwest Turkey, according to new details from the military’s ongoing investigation of the Gaza flotilla.
The IDF identified a group of about 50 men – of the 700 on board – who were well-trained and were stationed throughout the ship, mostly on the upper deck, where they laid an ambush for the IDF soldiers who rappelled onto the deck from helicopters.
The members of this violent group were not carrying identity cards or passports. Instead, each of them had an envelope in his pocket with about $10,000 in cash. The defense establishment suspects the funding for the mercenaries may have come from elements within the Turkish government.
According to sources within the defense establishment, one member of the group, who appears to have been the ringleader, traveled to the city of Bursa in northwest Turkey and allegedly recruited mercenaries for the flotilla there.