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Israeli military: Killed Palestinians were civilians

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Palestinians who died after Israeli troops fired on them believing them to be terrorists were civilians, an Israeli military investigation found.

Israeli troops opened fire Sunday on three men who entered the security zone near the security fence between Gaza and southern Israel. One of the men was carrying an anti-tank missile launcher, the Israel Defense Forces said.

According to the investigation, farmer Ibrahim Abu Said, 91, and his grandson Ismail Abu Odeh, 21, were killed by the fire. The third man had picked up the missile launcher after finding it lying in the field.

Meanwhile, a new report by an Israeli human rights group has found that Israeli soldiers who kill Palestinians are rarely punished.

The B’Tselem report released Tuesday found that in 148 cases between 2006 and 2009, in which 288 Palestinians were killed, only 22 cases were investigated.

“Investigations are not opened even where there is a grave suspicion that the law has been broken," according to the report.

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