Two Palestinian children were killed and a third was seriously wounded by Israeli fire on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip.
The army confirmed attacking a number of figures it spotted approaching a rocket launcher that had been used a short time earlier to attack the nearby southern Israel town of Sderot.
The Israeli army later issued a statement noting that Palestinian terror groups often send young children to retrieve weapons in the field so that Israel can be smeared in the international media when they are killed.
“In light of the reports, it seems likely that this was the case here,” read the army statement.
Israeli forces are often operating from great distances and are unable to determine if the figures around a rocket launcher are armed adults or unarmed youth.