A Turkish court went after Israeli military officials on Monday for the 2010 killing of nine civilians on board a Turkish ship trying to break the siege of Gaza.
State media said the court in Istanbul voted unanimously to indict Israel's former military chief Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, along with the heads of its navy, air force and military intelligence.
They face nine consecutive life terms in prison for "inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing."
The trial could take months or years but if they are convicted in absentia the court could issue an order for their arrest, though it would be symbolic and not binding.
Israeli officials had no immediate comment.
The charges were formally pressed just a few days before the second anniversary of Israel's May 31 slaughter, in which commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara in international waters and killed nine Palestine solidarity activists.
The ship had been part of a flotilla sailing toward Gaza to expose and protest against Israel's blockade.
The court also agreed to press charges against several unidentified soldiers who raided the ship. No trial date has been set.
Turkey has tried without success to wring an apology out of Israel, and to compensate the families of those killed as a precondition for normal relations. Israel has solely expressed regret for the loss of lives.
Israel says its troops opened fire after being attacked by activists with axes, knives and metal rods.
It claims soldiers rappelled on to the deck armed with non-lethal paintball guns and whipped out pistols when they were assaulted.
But the indictment claimed that the troops deliberately opened fire with the intention to kill, which it said can't be considered self-defence since the passengers were armed only with sticks, spoons and forks.
The court said some victims were shot dead from behind and at close range.
The charges against members of the Israeli military include commandeering vehicles, voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, persecution and causing damage to the ship.
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