IDF vehicle in Gaza 311.
(photo credit: Tsafrir Abayov/AP)
An IDF commander serving in the Givati Brigade’s Rotem Battalion has become the focus of a Military Police investigation after suspicions surfaced that he blocked an investigation into the death of a Palestinian woman in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said on Thursday.
The officer is suspected of not submitting the results of a probe into the woman’s death carried out within the battalion to Chief Military Advocate- General Brig.-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit.
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The woman was killed when she approached a Givati Brigade position in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, allegedly when soldiers were supposed to fire warning shots into the air.
“The Military Police has launched an investigation into this issue. When it is complete, its conclusions will be submitted to the military prosecution,” said an IDF Spokesman’s Office statement sent to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Details of the investigation first emerged early on Thursday during the trial of a Givati Brigade soldier accused of shooting the woman.
During a trial held in the Jaffa Military Court for the soldier, identified only as “S,” it was revealed that a soldier in the reserves contacted Mandelblit to alert him to the shooting after coming across a file on an army computer which contained details of the incident. The reserves officer said he was “tortured by [his] conscience” after learning of the shooting, and not knowing whether a full investigation had been conducted into the incident.
The letter resulted in the opening of an investigation which led to S’s current trial. In April, Mandelblit ordered a second investigation into the handling of the incident by officers in the battalion, which reportedly centered on the battalion and company commanders.JPOST.COM staff contributed to this report.