Israeli Soldiers Cleared over Killings

No criminal offense has been committed by the Israeli military over the assassination of a senior Hamas leader and more than a dozen other Palestinians, Tel Aviv says.

The probe — carried out by Israel — has concluded that the Israeli army acted on faulty intelligence and the assassinations were justified and did not constitute a criminal act.

On July 22, 2002, Israel dropped a one-ton bomb on a house in Gaza City, killing Hamas leader Salah Shehade along with 16 other Palestinians, including nine children.

The assassinations led to widespread international condemnation at that time.

The report, published on Sunday, also cleared all those involved in the assassination and said that there is no room for legal proceedings against them, AP reported.

The classified report effectively ruled out any further action against troops over the dropping of a one-ton bomb.

Rights activists accuse Israel of taking too few steps to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties when ordering military operations.

Foreign and domestic critics said that the 2002 attack at the height of the Palestinian uprising, in which thousands died, is a clear example of Israeli indifference toward Palestinian civilians.

Similar charges were leveled after the Gaza war two years ago in which some 1,400 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli attacks and inflicted a damage of above $1.6 billion on the territory’s economy.

Human rights groups have also criticized the international community for its silence on the siege on Gaza and the 22-day Israeli war in December 2008.

(Press TV)

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