March 11th, 2010
01:40 PM ET

Soldiers accused of having boy check suspicious bags

Israeli military prosecutors indicted two staff sergeants Thursday for allegedly instructing a boy to check several bags that were suspected to be booby-trapped.

The sergeants were indicted for "engaging in unauthorized conduct," the Israel Defense Forces said.

It said that the two soldiers, who were searching a building in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza, told a boy to open several bags that were suspected to be booby-trapped.

No further details into the incident were revealed, and the IDF did not give a court date for the two soldiers, who were not identified.

The IDF said the incident occurred during the conflict in Gaza more than a year ago. The offensive, known as Operation Cast Lead, began in late December 2008 and lasted for three weeks.

Israel said it launched the military operation to stop Hamas, the Islamic group that rules Gaza, and other militant groups from firing rockets into the southern parts of Israel.

Thirteen Israelis were killed during the operation, although numbers for slain Palestinians vary. The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights put the death toll at 1,419 and said 1,167 of those were "non-combatants."

The Israeli military released its own figures, saying that 1,166 people were killed, 60 percent of whom were "terror operatives."

During the conflict, "IDF soldiers were strictly forbidden from making use of civilians for or during operational activity and specifically when it endangered the lives of the civilians," the IDF said.

An investigation into the incident with the two soldiers began in June, the IDF said, and was unrelated to a U.N. fact-finding mission led by former South African jurist Richard Goldstone. Goldstone filed a report accusing Israel and Hamas of "actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity" during the December-January conflict in Gaza.

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Filed under: Israel
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Robert

    It sounds fair enough! Who told Palestinians to put bombs into booby traps, and why should Israeli soldiers risk their lives? If Palestinians know that by hiding bombs in civilian places, they are more likely to kill their own people than Israelis, then they are going to stop. And that is precisely the point!

    March 11, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Zohar Freiberg

    The accusations against those soldiers are very serious.
    If proven true, it constitutes a war crime!!!
    The Supreme Court of Israel already ruled, that it is illegal to ask Palestinian civilians to check suspicious objects, to see if they are not booby trapped.
    Such things should not happen in Israel!!!

    March 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AvidSearch

    No one is exempt from the horrors of war. Soldiers fight wars at behest of their governments, however when an entire region is engulfed in conlict all citizens should take part. Both in militan activites, and ones that advicate for peace. If the stakes included "civilians", then mabey a resolution could be reached in the violence. Especially the random violence of improvised explosive devises. Soldiers, and terrorists might be less willing to engage in senseless violence if mom, dad, child, public offical, and religious offical are taking active part. Peace is not free, all must take part.

    March 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Johns

    This is outrages the whole Israeli army should be prosecuted not just 2. The numbers speak volumes, 1167 innocent civilians where killed. Where is the justice????

    March 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. vipertonguee

    too little, too lat

    March 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Edward

    The Palestinians teach their childern their children to be suicide bombers! How can anything be worse than that? Plus, let's not forget the Palstineans use their women and childern as sheilds everyday of the week, every week of the year, but I guess we are not supposed to see their hypocracy in theirn outrage.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Moe

    This is the Israeli way. This is not the first time it happened, just the fist time it go reported. I hope they punish them although I do not have that much fatih in the Israeli judicial system.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sarahbelll

    I don't believe I've seen this said that way before. You actually have cleared this up for me. Thank you!

    March 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |