DND admits 'error' removing report on soldier killed by Israeli fire


OTTAWA - It was a mistake to remove a report on the 2006 accidental death of a Canadian soldier by Israeli Forces from its website, the Department of National Defence admits.

The report was posted in 2008 then removed in January 2009 "after it was discovered that some of its content is considered protected information," DND spokesperson Jennifer Eckersley told QMI Agency, adding, "We consider this an error" and it will be made public again.

"DND will examine how best to do this in the coming weeks."

A redacted version of the report is available to the public on request.

Maj. Paeta Hess von Kruedener and three other UN peacekeepers were killed by an Israeli bomb at their observation post in Southern Lebanon, during the 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel.

Media reports Wednesday suggested the report had been removed because Prime Minister Stephen Harper wanted to avoid embarrassing the Israelis.

"They don't want people reading about it," Hess von Kruedener's widow, Cynthia, told the Ottawa Citizen.

"It's embarrassing to the Israelis and, as we know, Prime Minister Harper has given his unconditional support to the Israelis."

Shortly before his death Hess-von Kruedener, who had been in the area for nine months, sent an e-mail detailing how his UN post had come under Israeli fire.

"This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity," he wrote.
Now-retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie told the Citizen in 2006 that, "What that means is, in plain English,

'We've got Hezbollah fighters running around in our positions, taking our positions here and then using us for shields and then engaging' the IDF (Israel Defence Forces)."

Israel apologized for the bombing.

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