Soldier Faces Charges for Civilian Deaths

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JERUSALEM, Israel - An Israel Defense Forces soldier who fought in Operation Cast Lead is facing charges in the deaths of two Palestinian women during the IDF's military incursion in the Gaza Strip a year and a half ago.

On the day of the incident, IDF troops were engaged in a built up area when a group of Palestinians from a nearby neighborhood approached the troops, some waiving white flags, according to Palestinian sources.

The commander instructed his troops to fire warning shots at but not toward the group, a course of action the IDF determined to have been appropriate. 

The soldier, who said he perceived danger to the troops, aimed at the lower extremities, with no intention of killing anyone. But Majda Abu Jajjaj, 35, and her 64-year-old mother Raya Salma were killed.

The hearing on June 22, which will be conducted by IDF Chief Prosecutor Avihai Mandelblit, will determine what charges the soldier will face.

The human rights organization, B'Tselem, investigated the incident and published its conclusions. Retired South African judge Richard Goldstone also included it in the Goldstone Report.

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