Almost a fifth of Israeli soldiers who died in Gaza were killed due to friendly fire , according to data released by the Israeli military, Israeli Ynet News reported on 12 December.
The same report noted that friendly fire had resulted in an unknown number of deaths in Israel during Hamas’ attack on 7 October.
The Israeli military has stated that it would not be “morally sound” to open an investigation into friendly fire incidents “due to the immense and complex quantity of them that took place in the kibbutzim and southern Israeli communities,” Ynet wrote in the same report.
Out of the 105 fatalities since the launch of the ground invasion of Gaza on 20 October, at least 20 soldiers were killed due to friendly fire by the Israeli army.
The data reveals that 13 soldiers were misidentified as enemy combatants. Additionally, one soldier was fatally wounded by a stray bullet, while six others lost their lives in various accidents, including being run over by armored vehicles.
Another soldier was killed due to an Israeli airstrike when an attack helicopter fired upon a building where troops were located. The military has not disclosed complete information about this incident, citing ongoing investigations being conducted.
In addition to reporting incidents of friendly fire and operational accidents in southern Gaza, the Israeli army has acknowledged that several hundred additional soldiers have been wounded.
The conflict between Palestine and Israel has garnered international attention and criticism, with President Joe Biden expressing concern over Israel’s actions in Gaza. He publicly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach, characterizing the current Israeli government as the “most conservative” in history and stating that it does not support a two-state solution.
“They’re starting to lose [the international community’s] support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place,” Biden said.
Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited by the first Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.
Fourty to 45 percent of Israeli bombs used in the war on Gaza were unguided missiles that are more likely to harm civilians and “may be contributing to the soaring civilian death toll,” CNN reported on 13 December based on assessments by US intelligence.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
Over 18,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including at least 7,000 children — and over 41,316 others injured. Meanwhile, at least 259 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and at least 3,365 have been injured.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been de-escalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and limited aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.