Secret Israeli military report reveals drone killed four boys on Gaza beach in 2014

Palestinian employees of Gaza City’s Al-Deira hotel carry a wounded boy following an Israeli military strike nearby on the beach, on July 16, 2014. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2018
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Secret Israeli military report reveals drone killed four boys on Gaza beach in 2014

  • The killings took place during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge
  • The report obtained by The Intercept explains how the actions of air force, naval, and intelligence officers led to killing four children

CAIRO: A confidential Israeli military police report has revealed how a drone strike killed four Palestinian boys playing on the beach in Gaza in 2014.
The report obtained by The Intercept explains how the actions of air force, naval, and intelligence officers led to killing four cousins — ages 10 and 11- after they were mistaken for being Hamas militants.
The killings took place during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, a 50-day offensive against Gaza iwhich killed 1,391 civilians, including 526 children.
The attack in 2014 was carried out by an Israeli armed drone that chased the boys, the report said.
The secret document includes testimony from drone operators, intelligence officers and commanders who were involved in the attack.
A day before the attack, an Israeli surveillance drone had identified a small shipping container on a jetty and had destroyed it. Israel claimed the shipping container was used by Hamas naval commandos to store weapons.
The next day, a figure was spotted entering the container attacked the previous day.
The Israeli military then used a drone to attack it, killing the person who approached the jetty.
The report said that after the first boy was killed by a missile, the drone operators told investigators they had sought clarification from their superiors on how far along the beach they could pursue the fleeing survivors.
Though the report says they never got an answer, the operators sent a second strike, killing the other three children.
The IDF initially thought the mission was a “great success,” thinking that it had targeted four Hamas militants, one naval officer reportedly said during investigation.
But the attack happened in broad daylight, and was witnessed by international journalists staying in a hotel in the area that overlooks the beach.
It soon became clear that those targeted were four children, an incident that stirred massive global outrage.
The report obtained by The Intercept said the air force officer who coordinated the attack told investigators that they could not “tell they were children.”
The secret report reveals that the drone operators treated the jetty as a free-fire zone on the mistaken assumption that it was off-limits to anyone but militants.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.