Decisions of the IDF Military Advocate General regarding Exceptional Incidents that Occurred during Operation 'Protective Edge' – Update No. 2

07/12/2014 | Source: MAG Corps

In accordance with the IDF Military Advocate General's (the 'MAG') policy to ensure transparency with regard to the examination and investigation of exceptional incidents that allegedly occurred during Operation 'Protective Edge' (8 July – 26 August 2014), and further to the first update on this issue provided in a Press Release dated 10 September 2014, additional information has been cleared for publication concerning decisions the MAG reached with regard to several individual incidents.

The MAG Corps continues to receive complaints regarding alleged exceptional incidents that occurred during the Operation. Many of these complaints are filed on behalf of Palestinian residents from the Gaza Strip or by non-governmental organizations ('NGO') – Israeli, Palestinian and international. In addition, the MAG Corps actively works to identify incidents warranting examination or investigation. Each complaint or piece of information suggesting a fault in conduct of IDF forces undergoes an initial examination in order to determine the credibility and concrete nature of the allegation. If the allegation is deemed credible prima facie, and is sufficiently concrete, it is referred to the MAG who shall decide whether a criminal investigation is warranted without further examination or whether a factual examination is required by the FFAM prior to such a decision.

As previously publicized, soon after the commencement of Operation 'Protective Edge', and whilst the hostilities were ongoing, the IDF Chief of General Staff ordered that a General Staff Mechanism for Fact-Finding Assessments (the 'FFAM'), headed by a Major General, examine exceptional incidents occurring during the operation. The FFAM was tasked with collating information and relevant materials in order to assess the facts of individual incidents. These efforts are intended to provide the MAG with as much factual information as possible in order to enable the MAG to reach decisions regarding whether or not to open a criminal investigation, as well as for the purpose of a 'lessons-learned' process and the issuance of operational recommendations that will assist in preventing exceptional incidents in the future.

Thus, at the time of publication, the MAG Corps has conducted an initial examination with regard to over 100 incidents. Allegations regarding additional incidents are still undergoing initial examination.

Allegations with regard to approximately 100 incidents have been referred by the MAG for examination by the FFAM. Approximately 50 of these incidents have already been examined and referred to the MAG for decision. Of these incidents, five have been referred for criminal investigation by the MAG. With regard to an additional nine cases, the MAG decided to close the case without opening a criminal investigation, after the MAG reviewed the findings and materials collated by the FFAM and did not find that the forces' actions gave rise to reasonable grounds for suspicion of criminal behavior. However in some of these cases, the MAG recommended considering changes to operational methods. In few of the cases that were closed, the MAG found that no involvement of IDF forces was identified with regard to the incident. 11 incidents have been referred back to the FFAM for further examination. Tens of additional incidents are in various stages of examination by the FFAM, and their findings will be provided to the MAG in due course.

In addition, on the basis of allegations that indicated prima facie grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct without the need for prior examination by the FFAM, at the time of publication the MAG has ordered the opening of eight criminal investigations.

When a complaint had been submitted in a written form, a reply has been sent to the complainant organization or individual.

Below is information which has been cleared for publication regarding decisions the MAG has reached with regard to specific incidents.

 


 

Incidents Concerning Cases Closed by the MAG Following a Fact-Finding Assessment by the FFAM

1.      Allegation Concerning an Attack on a Senior Commander in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hafet Hamed (8 July 2014) –

In reports received by the MAG Corps, and in correspondence from various NGOs, it was alleged that on 8 July 2014, six members of the Hamed family were killed as a result of an IDF strike on their home (later correspondence from NGOs alleges that seven people were killed). As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, it was decided to refer the incident for examinations by the FFAM.

 

According to the factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, the attack was directed against Hafet Hamed, a senior military commander (equivalent to a battalion commander) in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, as well as against a number of other terrorist operatives present with Hamed outside his home, understood to be taking part in an operational briefing prior to conducting military operations against Israel. The attack was carried out using precise and relatively low-explosive munitions, in an effort to minimize the risk of harm to civilians who may have been in the vicinity of the targets. After the attack, from the seven people allegedly killed in the attack, it was found that at least three of them belonged to Palestinian terrorist organizations. It should be noted that at the time of the attack no additional persons were identified in the vicinity of the operatives' group, and on the basis of the factual findings, it is not completely clear how civilians were harmed during the attack. It cannot be ruled out that these civilians were present in a nearby area, not visible to IDF forces, and were harmed as indirect result of the attack.

After reviewing the factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM, the MAG found that the targeting process followed in this case accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements. The attack was directed against military objectives, while adhering to the requirements of the principle of proportionality, and the decision to execute the attack was made by the authorities authorized to do so. The MAG further found that the attack was carried out together with significant efforts to minimize civilian harm.

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of the IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation or ordering further action against those involved in the incident.

2.      Allegation Concerning the Death of Kaware Family Members in Khan Yunis (8 July 2014) [published in a press release dated September 10th, 2014]

 

In reports received by the MAG Corps, and in correspondence from various NGOs, allegations were raised that an aerial strike on a residential building in Khan Yunis on 8 July 2014, resulted in the death of eight civilians. Subsequently, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

According to the factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, the aerial strike was carried out against the building due to its use for military purposes by Hamas. Prior to the strike, the IDF provided a detailed advance warning to the residents of the building to vacate the premises. This warning included an individual phone call and the firing of a warning projectile at the roof of the premises, as part of the 'knock on the roof' procedure. The residents were identified as having vacated the building, and subsequently a bomb was dropped on the target. A short time after, a number of people were identified as returning to the premises; however, after the bomb had already been dropped, there was no technical possibility to divert the bomb or to cancel the attack. It should be further noted that visual evidence collated by the FFAM clearly showed that the roof of the targeted building was deserted from the moment of the bombs release till it acquired its target (in contrast to certain reports regarding the incident).

 

After examining the evidence collated by the FFAM, the MAG found that the targeting process accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements. The attack was carried out against a military objective and the decision to carry out the attack was made by the authorities authorized to do so. The MAG found that the attack fulfilled the requirements of the principle of proportionality, as at the time of the attack, the operational authorities determined that the expected collateral damage resulting from the strike was not excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage of the strike. The MAG further found that the attack was carried out after various precautionary measures were taken, with significant efforts to minimize the possibility of civilian harm. Specifically, individualized advance warning was provided to the residents of the building, which indeed resulted in their evacuation prior to the strike, and moreover, continuous real time aerial surveillance was employed to monitor evacuation. Under these circumstances, the professional assessment of the operational authorities that releasing the bomb would not result in harm to civilians was not unreasonable. It should also be noted, as mentioned above, that at the point when persons were identified as approaching or returning to the building, it was no longer technically possible to cancel the attack. As a result, the MAG found that there was no fault in the actions of the IDF forces involved, and that despite the fact that the attack resulted in a regrettable outcome, it does not affect its legality post facto.

 

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of the IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation or ordering further action against those involved in the incident. At the same time, the MAG recommended conducting an examination of the operational procedures involved in carrying out such strikes, in order to assess the potential for reducing the likelihood of such exceptional incidents in the future.

3.      Allegation Concerning an Aerial Strike on a Vehicle Marked 'TV' in Gaza City (9 July 2014) [published in a press release dated September 10th, 2014] –

 

The MAG Corps received reports, as well as correspondence from NGOs, alleging that an aerial strike was carried out in the Rimael neighborhood of Gaza City on 9 July 2014, against a vehicle marked 'TV', and which resulted in the death of one person alleged to be a journalist (Ahmed Abdullah Mahmoud Shahab) and in the injury of eight additional persons also alleged to be journalists. Subsequently, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

According to the factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, the strike was carried out against a vehicle, which intelligence information and direct evidence (specifically, real-time aerial surveillance) indicated was being used to transport weaponry intended to be used against IDF forces or the Israeli civilian population that same day, and whose passengers were involved in the hostilities. It appears that the vehicle was marked 'TV' in order to mask the military use made of the vehicle to transport weaponry.

 

The MAG found that the targeting process accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements. The attack was carried out against a military objective, in accordance with the requirements of the principle of proportionality, and the decision to carry out the attack was made by the authorities authorized to do so. It should be noted that, according to the factual findings, at the time of the strike the IDF forces could not discern whether the vehicle was marked 'TV'. In any event, in light of the military use made of the vehicle for the purposes of transporting weaponry, the marking of the vehicle did not affect the lawfulness of the strike under international law. The MAG further found that the targeting process was carried out after undertaking various precautions with significant efforts to minimize the possibility of civilian harm. Such, the strike on the vehicle was at one point delayed, due to the concern that civilians in its vicinity could be harmed. Furthermore, no supporting evidence was found indicating harm caused to persons other than Shahab.

 

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of the IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation or ordering further action against those involved in the incident.

4.      Allegation Concerning a Strike on a Red Crescent Station in Jabalya and Harm Caused to Red Crescent Personnel (9 July 2014) –

 

The MAG Corps received allegations from a number of NGOs that in the nighttime hours of 9 July 2014, a number of persons working at a Red Crescent station were wounded (the various reports differ with regard to the number of wounded persons, with allegations starting from three wounded and varying up to 15 persons, and also differ with regard to the severity of their wounds, with some allegations of minor wounds caused and others claiming moderate wounds caused) and three ambulances were damaged, allegedly as a result of an IDF strike on agricultural property near the station. Subsequently, in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

According to the factual findings collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, Palestinian terrorist organizations had positioned rockets aimed at Israel in underground rocket launching sites a few tens of meters away from the Red Crescent station. The location of the station was known to the IDF forces and was marked in the IDF's operational systems as a "sensitive site", which receive special consideration. The rockets and the launchers that were hidden in the underground launch site next to the station were attacked by the IDF, together with an effort taken to avoid any harm to civilians and to the nearby Red Crescent station. This included selecting the time for attack (at nighttime) and employing appropriate munitions, in an effort to ensure that any damage caused to adjacent buildings, and persons potentially located inside them, would be minor, at most. In actuality, it appears that besides the destruction of the military target, incidental damage was caused to the Red Crescent station, workers inside the station were possibly injured, and ambulances at the location suffered indirect damage resulting from the attack – seemingly as a result of objects that were thrown by the force of the blast.

 

After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFAM, the MAG found that the targeting process accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements, and included significant efforts to minimize harm to civilians. The MAG further found that the damage caused to the Red Crescent station was unavoidable considering the proximity of the rockets placed by the Palestinian terror organizations only a few tens of meters from the station.

 

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of the IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation or ordering further action against those involved in the incident.

At the same time, the MAG recommended to the relevant IDF operational entities that they consider specific amendments to the target planning process, which may assist in further minimizing the potential collateral damage resulting from IDF strikes on military objectives located in close proximity to sensitive sites.

 

5.      Allegation Concerning Two Female Casualties at the 'Alambra Association' in Bet Lehia (12 July 2014) –

 

According to correspondence and reports from various NGOs, on 12 July 2014, two women were killed and four others injured as a result of an IDF aerial strike on a care centre for the mentally and physically disabled, belonging to the 'Alambra Association', in Beit Lehia. As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, it was decided to refer the incident for examination by the FFAM.

 

According to the factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, the strike was directed at a weapons depot located inside the residential home of a senior Hamas commander, in a building comprising of four apartments. While the operating forces were aware of the existence of a kindergarten in the same building, close to the weapons depot, there was no information indicating the existence of a care center.

 

Prior to the attack a number of precautionary measures were undertaken in order to minimize potential civilian harm – including several attempts to telephone the residents of the building and the firing of two warning projectiles towards the structure (as part of the 'knock on the roof' procedure). No reaction was identified by the residents, and no presence of persons at the site was discerned prior to the attack. As an additional precaution, the attack was carried out late at night, in order to avoid any possible harm to children attending the kindergarten during the day.

 

The findings further indicated that at the time the attack was decided upon, the operational assessment concluded that, as none of the precautionary measures resulted in any response, no civilians were present and no civilians were expected to be harmed as a result of the attack.

 

In light of these factual findings, the MAG found that the targeting process followed in this case accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements. The attack was directed against a military objective, while adhering to the requirements of the principle of proportionality, and the decision to attack was made by the authorities authorized to do so. Further, the MAG found that the attack was carried out after a number of precautions were undertaken intended to minimize the potential for civilian harm, and that the professional assessment at the time of the attack – that civilians would not be harmed as a result of the attack – was not unreasonable under the circumstances. Although seemingly civilians were harmed as a result of the attack, this is indeed a regrettable result, but it does not affect its legality post facto.

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of the IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation or ordering further action against those involved in the incident.

6.      Allegation Concerning a Strike on an Ambulance in Bet Hanoun (22 July 2014) –

 

Correspondence from an NGO alleged that in the morning hours of 22 July 2014, the IDF "struck three ambulances that were involved in the evacuation of wounded persons east of the industrial area of Bet Hanoun. One of the wounded persons in an ambulance was killed and the three vehicles were seriously damaged". As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

Following a thorough review conducted by the FFAM with all the forces identified as operating in the relevant area, such a strike by IDF forces operating in that area could not be identified. Likewise, and in contrast to other complaints concerning similar incidents, no report could be located from the time of the incident indicating that harm had been caused to a rescue crew. In turn, the FFAM did not dismiss the possibility that damage, insofar as such occurred, was the result of activity other than that of the IDF. Under these circumstances, considering the complaint could not be sufficiently substantiated and insufficient details existed in order to identify the incident, the MAG ordered that the case be closed. However, the MAG instructed that if additional information in the future allows for sufficient identification of the incident, a further examination of the incident will be considered.

 

7.      Allegations Concerning Attacks on Al-Wafa Hospital (11-23 July 2014) –

 

In reports received by the MAG Corps, and in correspondence from various NGOs, it was alleged that the Al-Wafa Hospital was unlawfully attacked by IDF forces on a number of occasions between 11-23 July 2014. As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, it was decided to refer the incident for examination by the FFAM.

 

According to the factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, Palestinian terrorist organizations used the hospital compound for a range of varied and multiple military purposes throughout the period noted above, as well as beforehand. Such, it was found that Hamas used structures in the hospital for positioning surveillance devices so as to track IDF operational activity, that the hospital structures were used on multiple occasions as firing positions towards IDF forces, and that rockets were launched from the immediate vicinity of these structures. Further, according to materials presented to the MAG, reliable information indicated that the sole use that was made of the hospital, from a certain date onwards, was for the military purposes of Hamas, by Hamas' military operatives. At this point, the hospital had already been evacuated of all civilians – patients and staff.

 

According to the factual findings, on a number of occasions during this period IDF forces were forced to return immediate fire, in a discerning and precise manner, towards sources of attacking fire that posed a serious and immediate threat to those forces. The MAG is not aware of any civilian harm resulting from these incidents. At the same time, in light of the ongoing and widespread military use made of the hospital by Hamas, a number of warnings were provided by the IDF to official entities in the Gaza Strip and to the Palestinian Authority, as well as to international organizations, requiring that the military use of the hospital be ceased.

 

On 23 July 2014, after these warnings went unheeded and after fire was again directed at IDF forces from the hospital, it was decided to attack the hospital. The attack was only carried out after the IDF had ensured a number of times, that all civilians had evacuated the hospital and that the hospital was being used at that time solely for military purposes.

 

After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFAM with regard to each and every incident of attack, the MAG found that, with exception to one instance which will be discussed below, the attacks were conducted in accordance with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements. The attacks were directed against military objectives, while adhering to the requirements of the principle of proportionality. Likewise, the MAG found that the attack was executed only after various precautions were undertaken, with significant efforts to minimize civilian harm. With regard to the incidents where IDF forces were faced with a serious and immediate threat to their lives, the forces returned fire immediately towards the source of the attacking fire, in a precise and discerning manner, and without harming civilians. The structures in the hospital compound were attacked and destroyed only after advance warning had been provided as required under international law, and no civilians were present at the time. The decision to attack was made in a careful and reasoned manner by the authorized authorities, after Hamas disregarded advance warnings and continued in its military use of the hospital compound, thereby resulting in the loss of the special protection from attack provided to the hospital under international law.

 

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of the IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation or ordering further action against those involved in the incident.

At the same time, the MAG found that one of the attacks, occurring on 11 July 2014, and directed against military surveillance equipment placed by Hamas on the roof and uppermost floor of one of the hospital's buildings, was seemingly carried out without advance warning. It should be noted that this attack was directed at a defined point on one of the buildings in the hospital compound, where it was known that no patients or medical staff were present at the time, and that the attack was planned and carried out in such a manner so as to strike only the surveillance equipment and its immediate vicinity, without causing any collateral damage to civilians or adjacent buildings. Since this incident did not establish a serious violation of the law of armed conflict which requires criminal investigation, and in light of the other circumstances of the incident, the MAG found that there were no grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct in this incident. However, the MAG recommended that the Chief of General Staff examine the reasons why the relevant authorities did not provide the required advance warning and to take measures where deemed appropriate. In addition, the MAG recommended that the Chief of General Staff provide a clarification in the relevant IDF regulations reflecting the requirement to advance warning prior to an attack against a medical facility being used for military purposes.

 

8.      Allegation Concerning a Strike on the Al-Shifa Hospital and a Park in the Shati Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip (28 July 2014) –

 

Various media reports alleged that on 28 July 2014, an incident occurred involving a strike on medical clinics belonging to the Al-Shifa Hospital, as well as a strike on a park where children were present in the Shati Refugee Camp, and as a result of which ten persons (including nine children) were killed and tens injured. Some of these reports alleged that the strikes were carried out by the IDF. As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, it was decided to refer the incident for examination by the FFAM.

 

Following a thorough review conducted by the FFAM, such a strike by IDF forces could not be identified. However, Israel's technical systems recorded in real-time the path of a salvo of missiles fired from within the Gaza Strip, seemingly by Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which landed in the medical clinics and in the Shati Refugee Camp at the time of the alleged incident. Under these circumstances, and in light of the fact that the strike on the hospital was the result of rocket fire from Palestinian terrorist organizations, the MAG ordered the case to be closed.

 

9.      Allegation Concerning a Strike on the UNSCO Headquarters in Gaza City (29 July 2014) –

In a report received by the MAG in real time, it was alleged that the UNSCO (United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process) headquarters were damaged by IDF shelling. The report claimed that several shells fell in the headquarters compound, which caused damage to buildings in the compound and one of the organization's armored vehicles (it was not claimed that any persons were harmed in the incident). As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, it was decided to refer the incident for examination by the FFAM.

 

According to the factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, no high-explosive shells were fired by IDF forces in that area during that time, rather only illumination shells, intended to illuminate the area as part of an effort to disrupt mortar and rocket fire towards IDF forces and Israeli territory. According to an assessment of the relevant operational authorities, it is possible that the UNSCO headquarters may have been damaged as a direct or indirect result of the ogive (casings) of such shells falling randomly within the compound. The FFAM found that at no time during the Operation were the UNSCO headquarters directly targeted.

 

The MAG found that the use of illumination shells in this incident was employed for a proper military objective and was conducted in accordance with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements. The incidental and unintended damage to the UNSCO headquarters is a regrettable though possible outcome, considering the fierce and intense fighting taking place in the Gaza Strip (insofar as the damage was indeed caused by the illumination shells). Nonetheless, such incidental damage does not affect the legality of the employment of the illumination shells.

In light of the above, the MAG did not find that the actions of the IDF forces raised grounds for a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. As a result, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation or ordering further action against those involved in the incident.

 

Incidents into Which, Following an Assessment by the FFAM, the MAG has Ordered Criminal Investigations

1.      Allegation Concerning the Death of Four Children on the Gaza Strip Coast (16 July 2014) [published in a press release dated September 10th, 2014] –

 

The MAG Corps received reports, as well as complaints from human rights organizations, regarding allegations that an IDF strike on July 16, 2014, resulted in the death of four children on the coastal strip next to Gaza City. Subsequently, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

The factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, indicated the existence of grounds for a reasonable suspicion that the strike was not carried out in accordance with the rules and procedures applicable to IDF forces. As a result, the MAG has ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

 

2.      Allegation Concerning Civilian Casualties Resulting From a Strike in the Vicinity of an UNRWA School in Beit Hanoun (24 July 2014) [published in a press release dated September 10th, 2014]

 

The MAG Corps received reports, as well as complaints from UNRWA and from human rights organizations, regarding allegations that an IDF strike in the vicinity of an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun on July 24, 2014, resulted in the death of 15 civilians. Subsequently, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

The factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, indicated the existence of grounds for a reasonable suspicion that the incident involved a deviation from the rules and procedures applicable to IDF forces. As a result, and despite the fact that the actual number of civilian casualties is as yet unknown, the MAG has ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

 

3.      Allegation Concerning the Death of an Ambulance Driver in the Khan Yunis Area (25 July 2014) –

 

Operational reports indicated a suspicion that on 25 July 2014, at approximately 23:45, an ambulance driver in the vicinity of Khan Yunis was fired upon by IDF forces, and killed as a result. Subsequently, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

The factual findings and the material collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, indicated the existence of grounds for a reasonable suspicion that the incident involved a deviation from the rules and procedures applicable to IDF forces. As a result, the MAG has ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

 

4.      Allegation Concerning the Death of an Ambulance Driver in the Vicinity of a Hospital in Beit Hanoun (25 July 2014) –

 

In reports received by the MAG Corps, and in correspondence from various NGOs, it was alleged that on 25 July 2014, at approximately 17:28, an IDF strike resulted in the death of an ambulance driver. As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

The findings and the material collated by the FFAM did not provide sufficient information as to the allegations arising from the reports and the NGO's claims. As a result, the MAG has ordered a criminal investigation into the incident. 

5.      Allegation Concerning the Deaths of 27 Civilians in the Abu-Jama House in Khan Yunis (20 July 2014) –

In reports received by the MAG Corps, and in correspondence from various NGOs, it was alleged that on 20 July 2014, 27 civilians were killed as the result of an IDF strike on the house of the Abu-Jama family in Khan Yunis.  As a result, and in accordance with the MAG's investigation policy, the incident was referred to the FFAM.

 

The factual findings and materials collated by the FFAM and presented to the MAG, indicated the existence of grounds for a reasonable suspicion that the incident involved a deviation from the rules and procedures applicable to IDF forces. As a result, the MAG has ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

Incidents Regarding Which the MAG Ordered Criminal Investigations without Prior Fact-Finding Assessment

1.      Allegation Concerning the Death of a Palestinian Woman in Dahaniya (18 July 2014) [published in a press release dated September 10th, 2014]

 

The MAG Corps received an operational incident report indicating that on 18 July 2014, a Palestinian woman was shot by IDF forces in the area of Dahaniya, after her presence in the area was apparently prior coordinated with the IDF. Subsequently, the MAG ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

 

2.      Allegation Concerning Looting (20 July 2014) [published in a press release dated September 10th, 2014]

 

The MAG Corps received an operational incident report indicating a suspicion that an IDF soldier looted (cash money) during the Operation. Subsequently, the MAG ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

 

3.      Allegation Concerning Mistreatment of a 17-year old Allegedly Held by IDF forces in Khirbeit Haza'a (23-27 July 2014) [published in a press release dated September 10th, 2014] –

 

Following media reports alleging unlawful acts (including allegations of assault and threats) by IDF forces against Ahmed Jamal Abu Raida, who was allegedly held by IDF forces in the area of Khirbeit Haza'a, the MAG ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

 

4.      Allegations Concerning the Death of a Person Carrying a White Flag and the Use of Human Shields (29 July 2014) –

 

In a complaint submitted by an NGO, it was alleged that on 29 July 2014 (in media reports it was alleged that the incident occurred on 25 July 2014), IDF forces operating in the area of Kuhza'a, fired at Mohammed Tawfik Mohammed Kadiach, while he was carrying a white flag, resulting in his death, and used the person's family members as "human shields". Subsequently, the MAG ordered a criminal investigation into the incident.

 

5.      Allegations Concerning Four Incidents of Looting (second half of July 2014) –

 

On the basis of a complaint received from four Palestinians from Khuza'a and Khan Yunis (the Big Abbassan), alleging that IDF forces looted their property while the former had allegedly left their houses, during the second half of July, the MAG ordered the opening of four criminal investigations into the incidents.

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