The armored personnel carrier in which seven Israeli soldiers were killed Sunday in the Gaza Strip was the oldest model still in use by Israeli Defense Forces, bringing criticism from senior IDF officers, Haaretz reports
The IDF has two newer model carriers that offer better protection than the American-made M113 APC, which was manufactured in the 1960s, according to Haaretz. The M113s haven't been used by the Israeli army in Gaza since a 2004 incident in which 11 soldiers were killed in two separate attacks.
A 2003 State Comptroller’s Office report already had urged the use of carriers with stronger armor for advance units.
The IDF told Haaretz that the older-model carriers were used for troops that entered after advance forces. The decision to use them was based on operational circumstances, the IDF said.
Rocket-propelled grenades appear to have hit the carrier from the side and rear, Haaretz reported.
The attack occurred on one of the bloodiest days of fighting by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war. Israeli troops launched a ground assault on Gaza last week after more than a week of shelling from Hamas rockets on Israel's major cities.
Israel's Iron Dome defense system has shot down most of the Hamas rockets, but Israel launched the ground attack late last week to find and destroy tunnels from which Hamas members are suspected of launching their rockets.
At least 100 Gaza residents, a large number of them civilians, have been killed in the fighting, along with at least 13 Israeli soldiers.
The conflict began when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in early June. Israel blamed Hamas. Though Hamas denied any involvement, the Times of Israel quoted an unnamed spokesman hailing the action as a success.
After the bodies were found, a Palestinian youth was found burned to death in what was believed to be a revenge killing.
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