Israel orders inquiry into Palestinian deaths
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer has ordered an inquiry into why Palestinian civilians have been killed during recent military operations.
"The defense minister instructed that an inquiry be launched, headed by a general, that will study all these events and will recommend to the defense minister by Friday operative recommendations to prevent recurrence of these kind of unfortunate accidents in the future," according to a Defense Ministry statement.
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon will head the inquiry.
Palestinian officials demanded Monday that Israeli soldiers found guilty of killing Palestinian civilians be punished.
"We demand that the Israeli soldiers responsible for the killing of ... Palestinian civilians be brought to justice," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told CNN. But he said he is skeptical that that will happen.
"We will believe it when we see it," he said.
Early Sunday, Israeli troops shot and killed four Palestinians near the West Bank town of Hebron. After inspecting the bodies, the troops found an ax, wire cutters and a saw, according to Israeli military sources.
Palestinian sources said the four were on their way to work. But Israeli sources said they were found cutting the fence of the agricultural fields of the settlement of Kiryat Arba and that the army had been warned that Palestinians would try to attack the area.
On Saturday, a commander of the militant Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was among five Palestinians killed -- including two children -- in an Israeli helicopter missile strike in the northern West Bank, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.
On Thursday, four Palestinians were killed in Gaza when Israeli tank fire struck their home.
Ben-Eliezer issued a statement expressing sorrow over those deaths.
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