If you look at the kind of heartless, cynical and amoral opposition they were fighting, and the danger they were exposed to in an apalling environment, then I think it's fair to call them heroes. If the bags had contained explosives, it seems likely the boys would have known this and not opened them. If the soldiers had been certain the bags contained explosives, they would not have made the boys open them but called for a disposal unit. But they were smart enough to make sure, on the off-chance, that the bags were not a booby trap. Frankly EVERYTHING in that hell-hole could have been. Leaving it in the hands of firstly the Arabs, then latterly Hamas, is turning the entire urban area into a battlefield, and when people live in a battlefield of their own making, bad things happen.
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U.S. regains Hellfire air-to-ground missile from Cuba (Reuters)
from the article: 'I was stabbed in the back,' says soldier who used human shield in Gaza