The IDF uses weaponized unmanned aircraft to assassinate militants, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. The IDF Advocate-General Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit revealed this information to the previous U.S. Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham in a meeting that took place in February 2010.
The details of this conversation, sent from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department in Washington, were revealed Thursday when they were published online by WikiLeaks, along with more than 250,000 other diplomatic cables.
Maj. Gen. Mandelblit met with Cunningham in order to update him on the investigations that the IDF conducted into the deaths of civilians during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008-2009.
One of the incidences of civilians deaths that they two discussed was the IDF attack on a group of Hamas members who were standing next to a mosque in Gaza. 16 Palestinians were killed in that attack, most of whom were inside the mosque at the time.
The summary of the meeting that was sent to Washington stated, "Mandelblit said that the facts were known: A UAV shot at two Hamas fighters in front of the mosque and 16 unintended casualties resulted inside the mosque due to an open door through which shrapnel entered during a time of prayer."
Human rights groups and international media have been reporting for years that the IDF uses unmanned drones armed with missiles in order to attack targets in Gaza. This is the first instance of it being published in WikiLeaks, quoting the words of the IDF Advocate-General.