The Abu Hajaj home near Gaza City
Photo: Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem

Soldier to be indicted for Gaza deaths

Worst criminal case from Gaza offensive comes to head as Givati Brigade soldier soon to be indicted for manslaughter for incident in which Palestinian mother and daughter shot to death. Disciplinary action taken against two other soldiers

An IDF soldier will be indicted for an incident in which a mother and daughter were killed during Operation Cast Lead


The incident, which was first reported by Ynet, involved a Givati Brigade soldier opening fire against protocol and shooting a 64-year-old Palestinian woman and her 35-year-old daughter to death.


Chief Military Prosecutor Avihai Mandelblit also ruled that an officer ranked lieutenant colonel will be put on disciplinary trial and an officer ranked captain will be disciplined for straying from protocol during the Gaza offensive.


In the incident, which took place on January 4, 2009 near Gaza City, Staff Sgt. S. and a group of soldiers from his brigade were staying in a fortified complex. At one point, they noticed a group of civilians and prepared for the possibility that a combatant may be traveling among them.


According to a local testimony, the group was made up of 31 Palestinians, 21 of whom were children, who prepared white flags out of ripped sheets. The group moved into the area after they received instructions to evacuate their homes.


At this point, Staff Sgt. S. opened fire at them, wounding two of the Palestinians – Majda Abu Hajaj, 35, who died on the spot, and her mother Raya Salama Abu Hajaj, 64, who sustained serious injuries and died a short time later.


S. apparently fired at the mother and daughter without receiving any instructions to do so. An officer was by his side during the incident. At no time was an order given to open fire, according to the investigation.


However, the debriefing does not note that group was carrying white flags. The IDF characterized the incident as "problematic," and S. left his position in the battalion and the brigade. For the remainder of his military service, he served in an administrative post in a home front base.



פרסום ראשון: 07.06.10, 16:27
 new comment
This will delete your current comment