The UN Human Rights Council appointed a team of international experts on Friday to investigate a raid by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla that tried to break the blockade of Gaza in May.

The fact-finding team comprises three independent experts -- Sir Desmond de Silva (Britain), Karl Hudson-Phillips (Trinidad and Tobago) and Mary Shanthi Dairiam (Malaysia) -- a UN statement said.

The 47-member forum voted to set up the inquiry last month to look into what it called violations of international law in Israel’s attack in which eight Turks and one American were killed. The United States, Israel’s longtime ally, together with Italy and the Netherlands voted against, while nine European, African and Asian nations abstained and 33 more African countries did not vote.

An Israeli military investigation has found flaws in intelligence gathering but said the use of force was justified. Israel says nine people were killed when they resisted commandos who boarded the ships of the flotilla to stop it reaching Gaza. It was not immediately clear whether Israel would agree to cooperate with the UN investigators.

Turkey, once a close ally of Israel, demands a formal apology and an international investigation into the May 31 incident. Israel has so far ruled out an apology and launched an internal probe.

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