Israel's Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi stated that Israel will not allow Gaza to become an Iranian port, referring to the Iranian statements to sail many ships towards the Gaza Strip. The Ha'aretz newspaper quoted Ashkenazi as saying Israel has the inherent right of inspecting and preventing the flow of weapons into Gaza. He said that despite Israel's intention to ease the land blockade on the Gaza Strip, especially after the Turkish aid foltilla raid, which sparked an international outcry for the killing of nine civiliansm Israel insists on maintaining the naval blockade to prevent the entry of weapons to Hamas. "It's important that we defend this right and we can not allow Gaza to become an Iranian port." Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Hamas' takeover of the Palestinian territory in June 2007.