Israel will not conduct a criminal investigation into a deadly battle in Rafah during the 2014 Gaza war, the military’s judicial arm said on Wednesday after a “comprehensive examination” of events.
The battle in question took place on August 1, 2014, after Hamas fighters, emerging from a tunnel inside the Gaza Strip, ambushed three Israeli soldiers, killing two and seizing the third.
In a subsequent air and artillery bombardment, Israeli forces killed 150 people in a matter of hours as they tried to retrieve the third soldier who was also killed.
“The findings clearly provide that the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) actions were aimed to serve a clear military purpose — to thwart the abduction of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and attack the terror organizations in the area, by targeting military targets and military operatives,” the judicial body, the Military Advocate General, said in a statement.
Goldin was believed at the time of the battle to still be alive, it said, adding that operations had been conducted “with an effort to mitigate, as much as possible, harm to civilians.”
The investigation found no evidence to suggest the IDF had intended to exact revenge for the abduction, it said.
Hamas has still not returned the remains of Goldin and another IDF soldier, Oron Shaul, killed in the 2014 war. Israel is also demanding the release of two civilians whose fates are unknown and who it says are being held by Hamas in Gaza.