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Al Jazeera English

Israel to Indict Soldier Over Gaza


An Israeli soldier throws a tear gas bomb at Palestinian youths during clashes at the Qalandia Israeli checkpoint between the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem in December 2008. The Israeli military is to press charges of manslaughter against a soldier for allegedly shooting dead two Palestinian women who were waving white flags during the Gaza war, the army said. (AFP/File/Abbas Momani)

An Israeli soldier who fought in the
country's war on Gaza last year is to be prosecuted for the manslaughter
of two Palestinian women, the military has said.

The move, which is the first prosecution of an Israeli soldier over
the deaths of civilians during the 22-day war, was one of several
disciplinary steps announced by the army following an internal

"The military advocate general has decided to
indict a number of officers and soldiers for their conduct during the
operation," an army statement said on Tuesday.

They include a disciplinary hearing for a battalion commander with
the rank of lieutenant colonel who allegedly allowed troops to use a
Palestinian as a human shield, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Another officer was disciplined for ordering an
airstrike close to a mosque.

Shots fired at women

The offensive, which began at the end of 2008, killed around 1,400
Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Tadros, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem, said that if found
guilty the soldier facing manslaughter charges could be sentenced up to
30 years in jail.

She said the case centred on a mother and daughter who were told,
along with the rest of their family, to leave their house and  head to
the centre of Gaza city for safety.

"When they left their house with another 28 members of their family
and their friends, 20 of whom were children, they were carrying white
flags trying to tell the Israeli soldiers that they come in peace.

"Now after that an Israeli soldier started firing shots at the crowd
and unfortunately two woman - a mother and child were killed.

"There are many questions that arise from this indictment - not least
why it's taken about two years to investigate this and bring these
charges to the soldiers involved."

Al Jazeera and agencies

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