Israel Opens Inquiry Into Soldiers' Gaza Killings

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 19, 2009 5:54 PM CDT
Palestinian children stand on a staircase of a house destroyed in last month's Israeli military offensive, in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday March 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
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(Newser) – Israel's military today ordered a criminal inquiry into its own soldiers' reports that some troops killed Palestinian civilians during its recent Gaza assault by hastily opening fire, confident that relaxed rules of engagement would protect them. Their accounts, published in a military institute's newsletter, echo Palestinian allegations that Israel violated the laws of war.

In one published account, an Israeli sniper killed a Palestinian woman and her two children when they misunderstood an order and walked near a restricted area. In another, an elderly woman was shot while walking on a road. "The climate in general (was that) the lives of Palestinians, let's say, are far less important than the lives of our soldiers," one infantry squad leader was quoted as saying. "So as far as they're concerned, they can justify it that way."