Ashkenazi: Unlike other militaries, we are checking all civilian Cast Lead claims

Ashkenazi Unlike other

The IDF made mistakes in the heat of the battle during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Friday, in an appearance before Beersheba high-school students. Asked about the Goldstone Commission, which accused Israel of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the three-week operation in January, Ashkenazi said that the correct response to the report was for Israel to explain the legitimacy behind the operation. "We do not need to reward terrorism," he said. "We are investigating all of the incidents that require an investigation and we are doing this after the war without any connection to the various reports." Last week, the IDF revealed that the Military Police has opened 28 criminal investigations into allegations that soldiers intentionally fired at Palestinian civilians, abused Palestinian detainees and looted Palestinian property during the operation. "We are continuing to investigate without any connection to reports and we are checking complaints by Palestinians, something no other military does - and even when we are sometimes not proud of the results," he said. Turning to the future, Ashkenazi said that Hamas was currently restrained and was working to restrain other Palestinian terror groups. "We are, however, not deluding ourselves and if we will need to, we will operate again in the Gaza Strip to stop the rocket fire," he said. Earlier Friday, IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian along the border with Gaza after he was spotted allegedly planting an explosive device near Nahal Oz. A Palestinian hospital official says the men were civilians hunting birds. The military said one man was killed, another was taken for medical treatment in Israel and three others were taken for questioning. Later Friday, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in the Western Negev, but caused no casualties. AP contributed to this report.