2 Israeli soldiers convicted of using Palestinian boy as human shield during Gaza war

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Court finds Israelis used Gaza boy as human shield

JERUSALEM — Two Israeli soldiers have been convicted of using a 9-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield during last year’s Gaza war.

Sunday’s ruling was the most serious conviction yet connected to soldiers’ war conduct in Gaza.

Israel has faced widespread criticism that it failed to properly investigate alleged wrongdoing by troops during the three-week military operation. Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of civilians.

A U.N. probe accused both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers of committing war crimes. Israel denies the allegations.

In Sunday’s ruling, a military court said the soldiers asked the boy to open bags that troops suspected contained explosives.

The Ynet news website says the soldiers could face up to three years in prison.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Israeli police have killed a Palestinian laborer who entered east Jerusalem illegally, igniting new tensions in the volatile sector of the city.

The circumstances of the pre-dawn shooting are unclear.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the man was among a group of illegal workers who had sneaked over Israel’s West Bank separation barrier to enter Jerusalem on Sunday.

Rosenfeld says the men ignored police orders to stop and fled, but an officer caught up with the 37-year-old Palestinian.

Rosenfeld says the man was shot after trying to grab the officer’s gun. He says it wasn’t clear whether the officer fired or his gun discharged accidentally.

The B’tselem human rights group, which sent a field representative to the scene, quotes a witness as saying there was no scuffle.

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