Israel investigating Gaza attack that killed 11 Palestinians

JERUSALEM Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:59pm IST

ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH OR INJURY Palestinians surround the bodies of members of the al-Dalo family during their funeral at a mosque in Gaza City November 19, 2012. Nine members of the al-Dalo family, including four children, were killed in an Israeli strike on their house on Sunday, Palestinian medics said. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH OR INJURY Palestinians surround the bodies of members of the al-Dalo family during their funeral at a mosque in Gaza City November 19, 2012. Nine members of the al-Dalo family, including four children, were killed in an Israeli strike on their house on Sunday, Palestinian medics said.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Salem

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Israeli military on Monday said it could not yet provide an explanation about an air strike on Gaza that killed 11 Palestinian civilians, including nine members of a single family.

The attack brought a three-storey home crashing down on the al-Dalu family inside and killed two of their neighbours. It was the highest number of deaths in a single incident since an Israeli offensive began on Wednesday with the declared aim of ending years of sporadic cross-border rocket fire.

A day after Sunday's strike, whose victims spanned four generations, it was still not clear from Israeli comments why the building had been hit.

A military spokeswoman told Reuters the circumstances were still under investigation and she could not provide any details at this stage.

The Israeli newspapers Haaretz and Maariv said the army had fired at the wrong house, while Israel's top-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported the al-Dalu home was indeed the target and that it housed a Hamas militant.

Around the time of the attack, the military said it had hit the commander of Hamas's rocket-launching operations. They named him as Yihia Abayah.

Soon after, reports began coming in that a family was killed in the strike.

Several hours later, the Israeli army's chief spokesman, Yoav Mordechai, said on television the military tried to attack Abayah.

"Although I don't know the outcome, there were civilians harmed by this".

IDENTITY UNKNOWN

But around the al-Dalu's home, people say they know nothing of Yihia Abayah.

Hatem al-Dalu, a relative of the family, said: "I have never heard such a name (Yihia Abayah). This is nonsense."

Some Israeli media speculated the target of the attack was a different militant, a Hamas-affiliated engineer thought to be in the house.

Sources in Gaza reject that theory flat out. People who know the family said its father is a grocery-shop owner and that he was not at home when the dwelling was hit. On Monday, rescue workers continued to search for another son and daughter who could be buried in the rubble.

Brigadier-General Asaf Agmon, a retired senior commander in the Israeli air force, said that tragic mistakes can happen if intelligence is wrong or if aircraft misfire.

Israeli drones routinely overfly Gaza. The military is widely believed to use militants' cell phones to track them as well as tips from informers.

"The process of approving a target in this kind of operation is a long one," Agmon said. After intelligence provides data on a target, "we check that he really does have blood on his hands and that he intends to continue with such activity".

Information is verified with more than one source, he said.

"If the target is located in a place where there are innocent people - the operation is not approved," Agmon said.

At least 90 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza offensive so far, about half of them non-combatants, including 22 children, medical officials said. Three Israeli civilians were killed on Thursday by Palestinian rockets. (Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ebola in U.S.

Ebola in U.S.

Traveler from Liberia is first Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S  Full Article 

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

Kurds seize Iraq/Syria border post; Sunni tribe joins fight against Islamic State  Full Article 

Indonesia Politics

Indonesia Politics

President manages hopes as hostile parliament convenes  Full Article 

Security Breach

Security Breach

U.S. lawmakers rebuke Secret Service over White House breach  Full Article 

Palestinian Occupation

Palestinian Occupation

Jewish settlers occupy Palestinian homes in Old City's shadow  Full Article 

Ebola Chronology

Ebola Chronology

Worst Ebola outbreak on record tests global response  Full Article 

Blurring Lines

Blurring Lines

In al Qaeda attack, lines between Pakistan military, militants blur  Full Article 

Rohingya Plan

Rohingya Plan

Myanmar confirms controversial Rohingya plan at United Nations  Full Article 

U.S.-Afghan Pact

U.S.-Afghan Pact

U.S. signs pact to keep troops in Afghanistan past 2014  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage