Former commander of Israeli forces in Gaza Strip evades arrest in London
The former commander of Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip on Monday said he was warned by diplomats not to leave an aircraft that had landed in London on Sunday after a tip-off that British police were waiting to detain him on war crimes charges.
Reserve Major-General Doron Almog said he arrived in London on Sunday on a flight of Israeli carrier El Al for a three-day visit with Jewish communities in Britain.
"We were about to get off the plane, then one of the stewards came up to me and said the pilot asked that I disembark last," he told Israeli Army Radio on Monday. "After some time, the chief steward said that the Israeli military attaché was on his way and wanted to speak to me. I phoned him and he told me not to get off the plane."
Almog said he was informed that a British Islamic group had filed an allegation of war crimes arising from his command of the military in Gaza Strip from the start of the Palestinian uprising in 2000 to July 2003. During that period, he ordered the destruction of 59 homes near Rafah in revenge for the death of Israeli soldiers in 2002.
According to the Monday edition of the Guardian newspaper, the warrant for the arrest is thought to be the first of its kind issued in Britain against an Israeli national over war crimes committed against Palestinians.