Israel's 'Hannibal' directive criticized in official report

Israel’s government watchdog has taken aim at the military’s “Hannibal” directive — a controversial tactic used when soldiers were abducted.

The directive, used most recently during a 2014 war in Gaza, authorized the use of heavy fire if a soldier was abducted, even at the risk of killing the soldier.

During the 2014 war, troops used the Hannibal procedure after soldiers feared militants had captured an officer. Israel unleashed heavy shelling and airstrikes on the southern town of Rafah, killing some 100 Palestinians.

In Wednesday’s report, the state comptroller said the directive suffered from a lack of clarity about “the value of the abducted soldier’s life.” It also noted that it did not “explicitly” mention the need to use “proportional” force.

The military says it welcomes the report.