IDF probing shelling of Gaza pharmacy last year

The law of armed conflict would have prohibited Gaza fighters from firing at soldiers from a civilian location such as a pharmacy.

June 2, 2015 23:45
1 minute read.
israeli tank

An Israeli tank drives near the border as it returns to Israel from Gaza.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The army said on Tuesday that it is investigating an incident during the 2014 Gaza war when media reports have alleged that an IDF unit may have improperly shelled a Gaza pharmacy where one of their comrades was recently killed.

Capt. Dimitri Levitas, 26, a company commander in the Armored Corps from Jerusalem and Geshur, was killed by Gazan sniper fire on July 22, 2014.

According to the allegations, the snipers fired at him from a pharmacy in Gaza City’s Shejaia neighborhood.

Afterward, the day Levitas was buried at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, his commanding officer, Lt.-Col. Neria Yeshurun, reportedly was recorded, during his eulogy, ordering his soldiers to fire a shell at the pharmacy, allegedly in Levitas’s honor or to avenge his death.

The law of armed conflict would have prohibited Gaza fighters from firing at soldiers from a civilian location such as a pharmacy.

It also would authorize the IDF to return fire on the pharmacy in real-time if fighters were illegally firing from it, as the Gaza fighters’ use of the civilian location could convert it to a military target.

But the law would not have allowed the IDF to target the pharmacy on a later date, if it was no longer being used militarily, simply to honor Levitas or to avenge his death.

The IDF said that “the incident is being checked by the professional authorities,” but would not confirm or deny any details regarding it.

A Channel 10 investigation said that there was no military activity at the pharmacy at the time that it was shelled, though it did not reveal the basis of its findings.

Further, the Channel 10 report said that the IDF had ignored the incident until recently, as it involved only one shell of many that were being fired at the time, and that no higher commanders were aware of the possible problematic circumstances in which the shell was fired.

The report did not mention whether there were any civilian casualties on the Palestinian side from the alleged shelling of the pharmacy.

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