Israel orders probes into troops over Gaza war

The Israeli military has ordered 14 criminal probes into the conduct of soldiers during the war on the Gaza Strip at the turn of the year, the Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

It said the military is currently reviewing close to 100 complaints from a number of sources, including from soldiers who took part in the devastating 22-day operation on Gaza, as well as Palestinians and human rights groups.

The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

About 1 400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the December to January war that left swathes of the aid-dependent, Hamas-run territory in ruins.

Among the Palestinians killed, 926 were civilians, 313 of them children, according to Palestinian figures, which Israel disputes.

In a report earlier this month, Amnesty International accused both Israeli forces and Hamas militants of war crimes.

Also this month, an Israeli human rights group said Israeli soldiers were told to shoot first and worry about the consequences later, and used Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Instructions received before battle led to trigger-happy soldiers, civilian deaths and massive destruction in the densely populated Palestinian enclave, the Breaking the Silence group said in a report based on testimony from 30 soldiers.

In April, the military said its investigations showed the army “operated in accordance with international law”, maintaining “a high professional and moral level” while facing an enemy who deliberately fought from within civilian areas.—AFP


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