IDF NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR GAZA EXPLOSION

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 |  Nicole Jansezian
The army has just has just released the conclusions of its investigation into who was responsible for an explosion on a Gaza beach on Friday that killed seven family members of a Palestinian family. While Israel was initially blamed for the incident, the Israel Defense Forces launched an investigation based on intelligence analysis, Palestinian claims, media coverage of the incident and IDF filmed footage that documented all IDF activity during that day. “Taking this timeline in account we have checked all reports of IDF fire on that day and I can without doubt say that no means used by the IDF during this time period caused the incident,” said Maj Gen. Meir Kalifi.

The Palestinians had blamed an Israeli shell for the killing of the civilians and images of the Palestinian girl were broadcast around the world crying over her father's body at the scene.

The incident occurred between 4:57 and 5:10 p.m. The IDF said the closest air attack occurred after 5:15 p.m.

“On Saturday evening I expressed our regret for the Palestinian family and the members of the family that were killed, and I emphasized that expressing regret does not mean taking responsibility,” Kalifi said. “Today I state clearly we still regret the incident, but we are not responsible for it.”

The army also disputed speculation that it was a navy shell fired from the Mediterranean Sea. “We have documentation of where all the shells landed. It proves that all shells were launched approximately four hours before the incident,” Kalifi said.

Kalifi also said that a piece of shrapnel that was found in one of the wounded Palestinians was examined and found to not be from an IDF artillery shell.

“So, all possibilities that the cause of the explosion was an artillery shell fired on that Friday have been disproved,” Kalifi said.

He also mentioned the context of the incident: constant shelling from Gaza of the Israeli town of Sderot in the western Negev.

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