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Gaza Flotilla Veteran Killed in Syrian Strike While 'Researching a Book'

Gaza Flotilla Veteran Killed in Syrian Strike While 'Researching a Book'

A Turkish man who was part of a flotilla that violently tried to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza in 2010 has been killed in bombing raids targeting ISIS terrorists in Syria, media reports say.

Yakup Bülent Alniak was in Syria researching a book, a statement from a charity group called Iyilikder, said Jordan’s JN News reported. But other reports in Turkish media indicate Alniak was fighting with a rival jihadist group, the al-Qaida tied Al Nusra Front.

The 2010 voyage of the Mavi Marmara ended with nine people dead after passengers attacked Israeli commandos with knives, metal bars and other weapons as they tried to take control of ship. A United Nations investigation found that Israel’s blockade on Gaza – meant to slow weapons smuggling into the Hamas-controlled territory – was legitimate and legal.

Turkey, the report found, could have done more to stop organizers from pursuing plans to force a confrontation with Israel. Other ships were part of a flotilla with the Mavi Marmara, but those passengers did not attack the Israeli commandos and no one on those ships was injured.

One of the group’s organizing the flotilla, Turkish-based IHH, has been linked to both Hamas and al-Qaida. To IHH, Hamas is not a terrorist group, but a legitimate political party. In 2010, 87 U.S. senators asked President Obama to investigate the group for possible designation as a terrorist group but that designation has not developed.

U.S. court documents show that IHH also had ties to al-Qaida. IHH played an “important role” in the al-Qaida planned millennium bomb plot by Ahmed Ressam, French intelligence expert Jean Louis-Bruguiere said during Ressam’s trial. Bruguiere also told the Associated Press in June 2010 that IHH was “basically helping Al Qaeda when (Osama) bin Laden started to want to target U.S. soil.”

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