The Israeli army yesterday admitted that a faulty assessment of the risk to civilians led to the killing of eight members of the same family in Gaza Strip.
On 14 November an Israeli air strike targeted the home of Palestinian official and Islamic Jihad leader Rasmi Abu Malhous in the Deir Al-Balah neighbourhood, which led to the murder of eight members of the same family including five children.
The Israeli army explained in a statement that intelligence gathered before the attack indicated that the house was classified as a “military compound belonging to the Islamic Jihad group”.
The statement added that the army had “estimated that civilians would not be harmed as a result of an attack which was not believed to be accessible to civilians.”
An army investigation later concluded that “even though military activity was conducted in the compound, it was not a closed compound, and in reality, civilians were present there,” it added.
The Israeli army said in its statement that it would learn from its “mistakes” to reduce “the recurrence of similar irregular events”, stressing it had made “considerable efforts … to reduce the damage to non-combatants”.
Moreover, the army’s statement blamed Islamic Jihad for exploiting civilians and exposing them to danger “by placing its military assets in the heart of the civilian population and by deliberately acting from within densely populated civilian areas”.