Israeli military condemns Web list of troops

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The Independent Online

Israel's military has condemned the publication of the names and photographs of 200 Israeli soldiers by a website that calls the troops "war criminals".

The site also published the addresses and ID numbers of many of the Israelis, who it said had participated in the offensive Israel launched in Gaza in late 2008.

The Israel Defence Forces said that the military "deplores the publication of personal details of hundreds of IDF soldiers and officers, without any factual basis whatsoever".

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, the website was put up earlier this week by anonymous activists in Britain and hosted by a US-based web service, which took it down by Friday, citing "breach of terms".

The website said the information came from an anonymous source who was "presumably" serving in the Israeli military.

The military is investigating the possibility that the information was leaked by a soldier, according to a report in the daily Maariv.

The website said: "The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack.

"Therefore, not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same."

It also included what appeared to be an implied threat to harm the soldiers, urging readers, to "do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical".

Israel began its Gaza offensive in December 2008, after years of intense rocket fire from the coastal strip ruled by the Iran-backed militant group Hamas.

The fighting devastated the crowded Palestinian territory, killing around 1,400 people, most of them civilians, according to Palestinian and international human rights groups. Thirteen Israelis were killed.

The offensive sharply reduced the rocket fire but did not end it entirely. Early on Friday, Gaza militants fired a military-grade rocket into southern Israel, causing light damage and no casualties.

Militants usually fire mortar shells or small rockets they manufacture themselves and only rarely use military-grade projectiles like the relatively powerful Grad launched early today.

None of the armed groups in Gaza immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

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