No criminal charges against those involved in ‘Black Friday’ Israeli offensive in Gaza

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The Times of Israel reports that the Israeli military’s top lawyer on Wednesday closed the case on one of the bloodiest battles of the 2014 Gaza war, deciding not to file any criminal charges against those involved in a massive shelling of southern Gaza that left 72 civilians dead, the army said.

The Israel Defense Forces also completed the investigation of seven other, lower-profile cases in which soldiers were said to have unnecessarily killed Palestinian civilians, finding that no crimes or misdeeds were committed.

The military’s findings regarding the “Black Friday” offensive, the nickname for the bombardment of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, largely matched those of the IDF Southern Command’s investigation shortly after the war. The IDF released the results of the probes in a 30-page document in Hebrew.

Israel launched its raid after Hamas militants, emerging from a tunnel inside Gaza, ambushed three Israeli soldiers, killing two and seizing the third.

In their air and artillery bombardment Israeli forces killed 150 people in a matter of hours as they tried to retrieve the third soldier who was also killed.

“The findings clearly provide that the Israel Defence Force’s (IDF) actions were aimed to serve a clear military purpose – to thwart the abduction of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and attack the terror organizations in the area, by targeting military targets and military operatives,” the judicial body, the Military Advocate General, said in a statement.

Goldin was believed at the time of the raid to still be alive, it said, adding that operations had been conducted “with an effort to mitigate, as much as possible, harm to civilians”.

The investigation found no evidence to suggest the IDF had intended to exact revenge for the abduction, it said.

Hamas condemned the decision.


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