Israeli army 'used human shields'
BBC News | March 8, 2007
Israel has carried out a number of raids in Nablus
An Israeli human rights group has accused Israel's army of using two young Palestinians as human shields during a recent raid in the West Bank.
The B'Tselem group said it had testimony from a 15-year-old boy, his 24-year-old cousin and also an 11-year-old boy.
They said soldiers had forced them at gunpoint to enter houses ahead of the troops during the raid in Nablus.
The use of human shields is illegal under Israeli and international law.
The Israeli defence force says it is investigating the allegations.
The Israeli army occupied the Kasbah, or old town, in Nablus for five days at the end of last month. It said it was hunting for militants and their weapons.
Soldiers conducted house-to-house searches. They imposed a two-day curfew on tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians.
Amid Omeira, aged 15, told B'Tselem that a group of soldiers used the barrels of their rifles to force him to enter a number of houses ahead of them.
His 24-year-old cousin Samah told the group and the BBC of a similar experience, as did Jihan Dadush, aged 11.
From their testimonies, B'Tselem says it believes the Israeli soldiers knowingly exposed Samah and the two children to danger as they expected to find armed men in the houses.
B'Tselem has accused Israel's military authorities of not adequately informing soldiers about both Israeli and international laws which prohibit using civilians as human shields.
B'Tselem says the delay in investigating similar alleged incidents in the past suggests a leniency in the army's attitude towards soldiers who use civilians in this way.