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.


Lebanon rejects Syrian conditions on its trucks' transit through Nassib border crossing

The main border crossing between Jordan and war-torn Syria reopened on October 15. (AFP)
Updated 6 min 41 sec ago
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Lebanon rejects Syrian conditions on its trucks' transit through Nassib border crossing

  • The only contact existing with the Syrian side is on the return of displaced persons and is taking place with the Russian side: source
  • The Lebanese leader Michel Aoun had praised the agreement reached between the Jordanian and Syrian authorities to open the Nassib border crossing

BEIRUT: Lebanese government sources confirmed to Arab News that it "will not coordinate with the Syrian government in any way regarding the transit of Lebanese trucks through this (Nassib) border toward the Gulf States.”

The sources stressed that “the only contact existing with the Syrian side is on the return of displaced persons and is taking place with the Russian side. Otherwise the contacts between the Lebanese and Syrian sides are conducted on an individual level.”

“How could any conditions be imposed on the Lebanese side for the crossing of Lebanese trucks at a time when crossings at the Syrian-Lebanese borders take place normally without any preconditions?” the sources said.

Elnashra Lebanese news website had quoted a Syrian source as saying that “No agreement has been reached with the Lebanese side on all details related to the transit of trucks from Lebanon to Jordan through the Nassib border crossing.” The source added that “In the last meeting with the Lebanese ministers, the Syrian side emphasized the necessity of communication between the governments of the two countries, whether on transit trucks or other economic files.”

According to Elnashra, the Syrian source described the meetings with Lebanese officials as “always positive and fruitful, but also in need of greater and wider contact with the other officials.” And whether the Lebanese trucks will begin to cross, the Syrian source reiterated that it “needs some time and arrangements with the Lebanese side.”

The Lebanese leader Michel Aoun had praised the “agreement reached between the Jordanian and Syrian authorities to open the Nassib border crossing. This will be beneficial also to Lebanon and allows the movement of people and goods from Lebanon to the Arab countries and vice versa.”

Aoun stressed that “the opening of this vital crossing after three years of closure will revive the various productive sectors, and reduce the cost of exporting goods from Lebanon to the Arab countries.”

The Lebanese Minister of Agriculture in the caretaker government, Ghazi Zu’aitir, said that “opening the Nassib crossing serves the interest of Lebanese exporters and that communication with the Syrian side is continuing at the level of ministers concerned on this issue.”

Zu’aitir spoke about “agreements signed between the Lebanese and Syrian parties: The Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination, the presence of the Lebanese-Syrian Higher Council, and the exchange of embassies between the two countries, which allows us to move based on constitutional and legal provisions."

The Minister of Economy in the caretaker government, Raed Khoury, revealed that “we communicated with the Syrian side today, and the logistical details on the transit of trucks and Lebanese exports and other issues will be discussed in the coming days.”

The head of the Farmers and Peasants Association in the Bekaa Valley, Ibrahim Tarshishi, told Arab News: “The agricultural sector was exporting through the Nassib border crossing goods in reaching up to 500,000 tons annually to the Arab countries, and 50,000 by sea. With the closure of the crossing over the past three years, the sector was exporting only 350,000 tons by sea, causing losses to farmers because they had to sell the remaining production at prices below 50 percent of the cost of production.”

“The trucks will start operating starting Tuesday, and we have not been informed of any different procedures related to the transport and transit process,” said Shafiq Al-Qassis, head of Truck Owners' Association in Lebanon.