Israeli Army Officer Charged
Oct. 03, 2003
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ An Israeli army officer has been charged with killing four Palestinians, including three children, by ordering soldiers to fire tank shells to enforce a curfew, an army publication reported.
``Bamahane,'' a weekly for soldiers, reported that the incident took place in Jenin in June 2002. The officer, a lieutenant in the armored corps, ordered tank crews to fire shells and machine guns to force Palestinians off the streets of the northern West Bank town.
Four Palestinians were killed _ a 5-year-old boy, a 6-year-old girl, a boy, 13, and a man, 53. Five people were wounded, including three children and a doctor.
During three years of Palestinian-Israeli violence, Israeli forces have retaken most main West Bank towns in response to Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel. Soldiers often declare curfews, confining Palestinians to their homes.
Palestinians charge that soldiers often open fire for no discernible reason, killing and wounding bystanders, but few charges have been filed.
The report in the most recent edition of the weekly quoted the military prosecutor for the northern region, Maj. Ranena Galpaz-Mokadi, who said an indictment had been filed. The exact charges were not given.
The report said the indictment is based on testimony given by the father of the dead girl to B'tselem, an Israeli group that monitors human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He said he was driving to the market with his children, when a tank suddenly appeared at the street corner and opened fire.
The report said the officer has not replied to the charges, and his trial has not begun.