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Turkey court drops case against Israelis over aid ship storming

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ISTANBUL: An Istanbul court on Friday dropped a case against four top former Israeli commanders who were being tried in absentia over the 2010 deadly storming of a Turkish ship bound for Gaza, a lawyer said.

An arrest warrant for the four was also withdrawn, Gulden Sonmez, a lawyer for the victims, wrote on Twitter after a closed door hearing in Istanbul.

Mustafa Ozbek, a spokesman for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) charity which organised the bid in 2010 to break Israel’s Gaza blockade, confirmed to AFP that the case had been withdrawn.

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Lawyers and families hold pictures of victims and shout slogans outside the Istanbul courthouse.

Ten Turkish citizens lost their lives as a result of the raid that saw Israeli commandos storm the Mavi Marmara ship.

The dropping of the charges was a key pillar of a deal agreed between Israel and Turkey this June to normalise bilateral ties.

Prosecutors had been seeking life sentences for the alleged involvement of former Israeli military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former navy chief Eliezer Marom, former military intelligence head Amos Yadlin and former air force intelligence chief Avishai Levy, who went on trial in absentia in 2012.

The decision had been expected after the prosecutor told the Istanbul court last week that the case against the Israelis should be dropped because of the agreement.

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