Israeli soldiers allowed to shoot at Gazans ‘virtually at will’: Report

A new investigation by Israeli outlets +972 Magazine and Local Call has found that Israeli forces have been shooting at Palestinians, including civilians "virtually at will" during their military operations in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli soldiers told the outlets of near-total absence of firing regulations, “with troops shooting as they please, setting homes ablaze, and leaving corpses on the streets” all with their commanders’s blessings.

“There was total freedom of action,” B., an anonymous soldier who served in Gaza, said, adding, “If there is [even] a feeling of threat, there is no need to explain — you just shoot.”

B. stated that when someone is approaching.

“it is permissible to shoot at their centre of mass [their body], not into the air. It’s permissible to shoot everyone, a young girl, an old woman.”

Even when dealing with Israeli hostages in the besieged enclave, soldiers “didn’t have a specific directive”, as the incident in which the army accidentally killed three hostages did not cause any significant changes to the open-fire regulations.

Soldiers even freely fired at civilians entering so-called “no-go zones”, and their corpses are often left to rot, only removed ahead of the arrival of humanitarian aid convoys so that “images of people in advanced stages of decay don’t come out”.

Flouting a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Palestinian group Hamas.

Nearly 38,200 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and nearly 88,000 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

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