Soldier may be charged with killing

IDF soldier suspected of shooting two civilians during Cast Lead.

IDF Operation Cast Lead (photo credit: AP)
IDF Operation Cast Lead
(photo credit: AP)
IDF Military Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit on Wednesday summoned a recently discharged soldier who fought in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead for a hearing amid suspicions that the soldier killed two innocent women during the operation.
The incident took place on January 4 in Juhar a-Dik, near Gaza City, when a group of about 30 Palestinian civilians, including women and children, approached an Israeli military position. The group, according to several eyewitness accounts, was waving white flags.
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At a certain point, one of the IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade opened fire, killing a mother and daughter – 35-year-old Majda Abu Hajiji and her 64-year-old mother Salama. The incident was later thoroughly investigated by B’Tselem and mentioned in the Goldstone Report.
During a military probe shortly following the incident, one soldier was picked out as responsible for opening fire at the group of civilians.
“Ahmad and Majda waved white flags, so the soldiers would see us. Suddenly, they opened fire at us, and we began to run eastward,” Majda’s sister-in-law Farhaneh Abu Hajaj latert told B’Tselem. “My mother-in-law was behind us because she couldn’t run. While I ran, I saw Majda on the ground. I thought she was lying there so she wouldn’t be hit by the gunfire. I said to her, “Get up! Get up!”, but she didn't move. I finally realized she had been killed by the gunfire.”
Mandelblit decided last year to open a Military Police criminal investigation into the incident during which the soldier was interrogated but explained that he had felt in danger, was in the middle of a battle, and therefore opened fire.
Next week, Mandelblit will hold a special hearing for the soldier before deciding if to press charges and if so on what count. One possibility under consideration is manslaughter.