Two soldiers held for theft in Gaza op

Givati Brigade troops allegedly stole cash as well as credit card from home in Strip and later used it to withdraw money from ATMs in Israel.

IDf arrest Hamas Gaza 248/88 ap (photo credit: )
IDf arrest Hamas Gaza 248/88 ap
(photo credit: )
Two soldiers from the Givati Brigade are in Military Police custody for allegedly stealing a Palestinian credit card during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip earlier this year. According to the allegations, the soldiers - who were arrested on Thursday - stole cash as well as a credit card from a home during the operation and later used it to withdraw cash from ATMs in Israel. The investigation was launched after Ahmed Rafia, a resident of Gaza City, filed a complaint with the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) regarding the theft. Rafia, whose account is at Bank of Palestine, told CLA officers that his card was stolen and that NIS 1,600 was withdrawn from ATMs in Israel following the conclusion of the operation in January. Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit ordered the Military Police to investigate the incident and after the two soldiers were identified, they were arrested. The soldiers serve in the Givati Brigade's elite Reconnaissance Unit. A military court judge in Beersheba decided Monday to extend the soldiers' remand until Wednesday so the Military Police could complete the investigation. Attorney Shai Roda, whose client has denied his involvement, said that the Military Police had based their accusations on a video taken at an ATM where money was withdrawn from Rafia's account, that showed the two soldiers standing in line. But money had also been withdrawn from the soldiers' accounts at the same time. "The suspects are excellent soldiers with a great track record," Roda said. "My client has rejected the allegations and we are confident he will be released." Military Police are conducting several more investigations into allegations of looting and stealing during the operation in the Gaza Strip. Some of the investigations were launched following internal IDF inquiries and others are based on complaints filed at the CLA.