Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit on Monday instructed the Military Police Investigation unit to close the inquiry into soldiers' accounts of alleged misconduct and serious violations of the army's rules of engagement during Operation Cast Lead.
He said it was unfortunate that the soldiers, who discussed their Gaza experiences in private on Feb. 13 at a military academy session which was later leaked verbatim to the media, had been careless about accuracy.
"It will be difficult to evaluate the damage done to the image and morals [of the armed forces] in Israel and the world", his statement said in a press release issued Monday the army said that the preliminary Military Police investigation into the testimonies revealed that they "were based on hearsay and not first-hand experience."
The probe was launched earlier this month after IDF soldiers were quoted as telling a military cadet academy that combat troops in Gaza fired at unarmed Palestinian civilians and vandalized property during Operation Cast Lead. The army has barred those soldiers from speaking to the press. The allegations first surfaced in the media on March 19.
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