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Israeli army created ‘kill zones’ that targeted unarmed Palestinian civilians

‘Combat’ or ‘kill’ zones designed to target fighters have indiscriminately targeted civilians who enter these zones
Israeli soldiers on a tank prepare to enter Gaza on 15 February (AFP/Jack Guez)

The Israeli army has created “kill zones” that have targeted and indiscriminately killed civilians in the Gaza Strip, according to a new report.

Senior army officials and soldiers who have served on the frontlines confirmed to Haaretz that its forces had killed civilians and later claimed they were terrorists because they were in a particular area designated as a so-called "combat zone".

“It's astonishing to hear the reports after every operation regarding how many terrorists were killed," a senior officer within the army’s southern command told Haaretz. 

“You don't need to be a genius to realise that you don't have hundreds or dozens of armed men running through the streets of Khan Younis or Jabaliya, fighting the IDF."

Officers also admitted to Haaretz that some of the Palestinians killed in so-called “combat” or “kill” zones may have been going back to their homes or searching for food as fears of a famine in northern Gaza continue to mount. 

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The soldiers explained to Haaretz that the “combat” zone is where a group of soldiers set up inside an abandoned house, with the surrounding area designated as a combat zone. 

The soldiers then use observation posts outside the Gaza Strip to observe the area and determine what is deemed a danger. The boundaries for each zone, however, are subject to interpretation by the commanding officer in that specific area. 

'As soon as people enter [the kill zone], mainly adult males, orders are to shoot and kill, even if that person is unarmed'

- Israeli army reserve officer

“In every combat zone, commanders define such kill zones," a reserve officer told Haaretz. 

"This means clear red lines that no one who is not from the IDF may cross so that our forces in the area are not hit."

“As soon as people enter it, mainly adult males, orders are to shoot and kill, even if that person is unarmed.” 

The indiscriminate nature of the army’s kill zones has also claimed the lives of three Israeli hostages held by Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip. 

This report comes as local health officials confirm that Israeli forces have killed at least 32,845 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Last week, Al Jazeera released footage that showed Israeli forces had killed two unarmed Palestinians going back to northern Gaza. 

The footage showed at least one of the Palestinian men killed by Israeli forces approaching them by waving a white flag to show that they were not a threat. 

An armoured vehicle then chases this man before Israeli soldiers fire on him, and he falls to the ground. Israeli forces then use a bulldozer to bury the two men. 

An Israeli army spokesperson said it was investigating the incident and claimed the Al Jazeera video was edited and did not show the context of the situation. 

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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