IDF officer detained in Britain on war crime allegations from Gaza war

Foreign Ministry confirms details of incident.

By MOSHE COHEN - MAARIV HASHAVUA
December 13, 2015 08:02
2 minute read.
idf gaza

IDF FORCES operate inside the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

 
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A retired IDF officer was detained for questioning in recent weeks upon landing in Britain on allegations that he was involved in war crimes during the Gaza war in the summer of 2014.

The reserves officer was questioned for hours and was only released following Foreign Ministry intervention.

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The British authorities subsequently apologized to the officer.

It is thought that the officer’s name was on a list prepared by pro-Palestinian groups naming IDF soldiers involved in alleged war crimes during Operation Protective Edge.

The Foreign Ministry on Saturday evening confirmed the details of the incident and stressed that the officer was released only due to its intervention.

Last week, a group of former international chiefs of staff and senior-ranking commanders, following a lengthy examination, found that Israel’s military measures to defend its population during the 50-day clash with Hamas in Gaza met, and often exceeded, the expectations of the Laws of Armed Conflict.

The 14 independent military and security professionals came from around the world to form the High Level International Military Group this year.

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For 50 days of war, the home front and soldiers on the front lines were battered by thousands of rockets and mortar shells, as armed groups in Gaza fired 4,564 projectiles at Israel.

According to the army, 3,659 rocket and mortar impact sites were found, counting those fired on IDF soldiers in Gaza. Of those that struck in Israel, 224 hit built-up areas. A further 735 were shot down by the Iron Dome missile-defense system. Also, the IDF said there were 197 “failed launchings” – projectiles that never left the Gaza Strip or that did not launch at all.

During the war, 70 people were killed on the Israeli side, including 64 soldiers.

Gaza health officials said more than 2,100 people were killed there in the fighting, and many thousands more were wounded.

Amnesty International, using UN statistics, reported that about 75 percent of the Palestinian casualties who were killed were civilians, including 519 children, while Israeli security sources have said civilians deaths were likely closer to 50%.

The Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the body responsible for running the Israeli border crossings with Gaza, said that since the beginning of the operation on July 8,959 tons of medicine and medical supplies have entered the Gaza Strip through the crossings, and 5,359 trucks carrying goods entered through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

A total of 82,201 IDF reservists were called up during the war. Throughout the fighting, 64 soldiers were killed and 469 were wounded.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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