The IDF’s Military Prosecution filed an indictment with a military court last week against three soldiers suspected of looting from the homes of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during the summer’s 50-day war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group, it was cleared for publication Sunday.
Two of the soldiers were accused of stealing NIS 2,420 (about $617) from an apartment in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya, while the third soldier allegedly assisted in the crime.
The two soldiers were also accused of obstruction of justice in the indictment.
The indictment is the first case of charges pressed against IDF troops who participated in combat in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.
Last month, the Israeli military said it had opened six new criminal investigations into soldiers’ actions during the summer campaign, including the bombing of a United Nations school that, according to Palestinians, killed 21 civilians and injured dozens.
Chief Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Danny Efroni announced the probe into the July 30 incident, in which the Israel Defense Forces fired several tank shells at a UN school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which was housing hundreds of Palestinian refugees. Efroni also ordered three probes into accusations that troops beat Palestinian detainees, as well as two probes into alleged looting cases.
The 50-day war is said to have killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, many of them civilians, according to Palestinian sources in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Israel said up to half of the dead were combatants and blames Hamas for all civilian casualties, since it situated its military infrastructure in residential areas.
Seventy-two Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed in the hostilities as well.
Following a similar operation in Gaza in early 2009, the army convicted four soldiers on various charges, including looting, improper use of a weapon and life-endangering conduct. The most severe final sentence was a three-and-a-half-month prison term.