Israeli army admits error over deadly Gaza attack

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen in Gaza City. (File photo: AP)

The Israeli army said Tuesday that a strike in Gaza that killed nine members of the same family had been due to a faulty assessment of the risk to civilians.

The November 14 air strike targeted the home of Rasmi Abu Malhous, described by Israel as a commander in Islamic Jihad, the militant Palestinian movement against which Israel had launched a three-day campaign.

He and eight members of his family were killed by the attack, including five children.

A statement from the army said that intelligence collected ahead of the attack had indicated that the residence “was designated as an Islamic Jihad terror organisation military compound”.

The army had “estimated” that “civilians would not be harmed as a result of an attack” on the site, which was not believed to be accessible to members of the public.

An army inquiry later found “that even though military activity was conducted in the compound, it was not a closed compound, and in reality civilians were present there,” it said.

The army said it would learn from its “mistakes” to reduce “the recurrence of similar irregular events.”

It stressed it had made “considerable efforts... to reduce the damage to non-combatants”.

The military report also blamed Islamic Jihad for exploiting and endangering non-combatants “by placing its military assets in the heart of the civilian population and by deliberately acting from within densely populated civilian areas.”

The three-day flareup began when Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad official in Gaza on November 12.

The group, which is closely allied with Gaza’s rulers Hamas, responded by firing more than 450 rockets at Israel.

During the confrontation, Israeli forces attacked dozens of targets in the enclave.

Palestinian officials said 35 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded. There were no Israeli fatalities.

In its Tuesday report, the Israeli army said its November operation had been a success, dealing a blow to Islamic Jihad and serving to increase the security of Israeli civilians and help prevent “a wider military campaign.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:01 - GMT 07:01
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