Israeli troops were ordered to do whatever it took, including committing suicide, to avoid being captured by Hamas during the Gaza war.
“You must avoid at all cost that one of you be captured alive by Hamas, even if that means blowing yourself up with your grenades,” the Times of India quoted an Israeli lieutenant-colonel of the elite Golani unit as telling his men during the offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The soldiers were also ordered to open fire on anyone they suspect might capture them, even if this put their own lives in danger, an Israeli military source said according to the report.
The Israeli army, however, dismissed the report saying there were no orders for committing suicide in case of capture.
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Israeli troops were on high alert after Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, during the 23-day war on Gaza, warned that sending Israeli troops into the strip would allow Hamas capture more Israeli soldiers.
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“If you commit a foolish act by raiding Gaza, who knows, we may have a second or a third or a fourth Schalit,” Mashaal said.
Hamas currently holds captive an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, who was captured two years ago in a cross-border operation in Gaza.
The Palestinian resistance movement says its fighters captured two Israeli soldiers during the war. Tel Aviv, however, denies the report.
According to an earlier report, Israel is considering opening Gaza crossings as well as freeing 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli prisons for the release of Schalit.
Israel ended its three-week-long offensive against Gaza last Saturday and declared a unilateral ceasefire.
Some officials in Tel Aviv had originally described toppling the democratically-elected ruler of the strip, Hamas, as their objective. Other officials later downgraded Israeli objectives, saying they only sought to weaken the Hamas movement and end rocket attacks on their communities.