Israeli army opens 8 new investigation into conduct of soldiers in Gaza war

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The Israeli military says it has opened eight new criminal investigations into cases involving Palestinian civilian casualties in this summer's Gaza war.

Saturday night's announcement appears to be a further attempt to head off international investigations into the military's conduct during the 50-day conflict.

More than 2,100 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, were killed in the fighting, according to Palestinian and U.N. estimates. Israel says the number of civilians killed is much lower and accuses the militant group Hamas of using them as human shields. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians died.

Israel has referred about 100 cases to legal examination and 85 of them are currently under various stages of review.

Israel's military advocate general says a professional fact- finding mechanism has helped decide which cases to investigate.