Blood on the ground at a United Nations run school after Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip

Israel used “disappearance” of soldier as pretext for killing spree — rights group

Israel used the “disappearance” of a soldier in Gaza as a pretext to kill 225 Palestinians over a three-day period last summer, a new study suggests.

On 1 August last year, the Israeli military reported that one of its lieutenants, Hadar Goldin, had gone missing in the Rafah area, close to Gaza’s border with Egypt. Israel’s response was one of “shooting at anything and anybody,” according to an analysispublished this week by the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq.

Rafah came under attack from the ground, sea and air. Most of the 225 Palestinians who died were killed on the first day. By 3 August, a total of 2,579 houses in Rafah had been destroyed completely or partially.

Israel reportedly invoked the “Hannibal directive” after learning that Goldin had gone missing. That procedure allows the military to kill one of its own soldiers in order to prevent his or her capture by resistance fighters. The assault on Rafah took place at a time when a temporary ceasefire was supposed to have been in place.

More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza in July and August.

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