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Israeli Soldier Faces Charges Stemming from Gaza Incursion


Israel's chief military prosecutor has charged a soldier with manslaughter for his role in the shooting deaths of two Palestinian women during Israel's three-week incursion into Gaza that began in December 2008.

The army released a statement, Tuesday, saying Military Advocate General Avihai Mandelblit decided to take legal action against the soldier following witness reports that the two women were carrying white flags when they were shot.

The statement says the prosecutor also announced at least one Israeli officer would be disciplined after soldiers used a Palestinian man as a "human shield."

The decisions were part of an inquiry into more than 150 incidents during the Gaze offensive that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. Israeli media reports say several other Israeli soldiers are also under investigation for alleged misconduct during the Gaza operation. Israel said it launched the offensive to stop Palestinian rocket attacks.

After the Gaza incursion, an investigate panel appointed by the United Nations issued a report that alleged both Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the conflict.

In late February, the U.N. gave both sides five more months to investigate war crimes allegations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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