JERUSALEM -- Israeli military officials Thursday announced an investigation into charges of misconduct by troops involved in the 22-day incursion into Gaza.
The military police has been ordered to look into allegations from soldiers involved in Operation Cast Lead, which began in December and lasted in January, that other troops shot at unarmed civilians, vandalized property and otherwise strayed from strict rules of engagement.
Israel News said an Israeli military spokesman assured that the investigation was being taken seriously and that individual unit commanders were being encouraged to speak candidly about the conduct of soldiers involved in the operation.
"The (military) has no supporting or prior information about these events," the spokesman said. "The (military) will check their veracity and investigate as required."
The inquiry stems from a report in the newspaper Haaretz in which graduates of a military training program at Oranim Academic College described incidents in which Palestinian civilians were rousted from their homes, abused or even knowingly fired on by Israeli soldiers.
Haaretz said there were also reports of civilian rabbis in the combat zone urging soldiers to think of Cast Lead as a religious conflict aimed at taking complete control of the Holy Land.
Copyright © 2009, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.