No Israeli soldiers prosecuted for killing of family

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The Independent Online

The Israeli military has closed its investigation into the killing of 21 members of a Palestinian family, whose house was hit by an Israeli shell during the offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2009, and said it would not file any charges.

The move, which exonerates Israeli soldiers, outraged relatives of the victims and the Israeli rights group that had pressed for the inquiry. They said the findings proved the army was not capable of investigating the conduct of its soldiers. "We are talking about a crime against civilians," said Salah Samouni, 34, whose two-year-old daughter was killed.

Israel launched the three-week offensive in Gaza in response to months of rocket fire by the ruling Hamas militant group. About 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of civilians. Thirteen Israelis died.

Surviving members of the Samouni family claimed they had been ordered by Israeli soldiers to take refuge in a house in Gaza City that was then shelled.

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