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
0

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.


Macron and Merkel warn of ‘humanitarian risks’ in Idlib

Russian military support has helped Syrian regime troops to regain control of key cities such as Aleppo. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 August 2018
0

Macron and Merkel warn of ‘humanitarian risks’ in Idlib

  • US-backed forces had repelled a raid by Daesh targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria
  • Daesh overran large swaths of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in territory it controlled

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced concern Friday about the humanitarian situation in the opposition-held Syrian region of Idlib, which is shaping up be the country’s next big battleground.
In a telephone call the two leaders described the “humanitarian risks” in Idlib, where regime forces have stepped up their bombardments of opposition positions in recent days, as “very high,” according to the French presidency.
They also called for an “inclusive political process to allow lasting peace in the region.”
President Bashar Assad has set his sights on retaking control of the northwestern province of Idlib — the biggest area still in opposition hands after seven years of war.
Last week, regime helicopters dropped leaflets over towns in Idlib’s east, urging people to surrender.
Idlib, which sits between Syria’s Mediterranean coast and the second city Aleppo, has been a landing point for thousands of civilians and rebel fighters and their families as part of deals struck with the regime following successive regime victories.
The UN has called for talks to avert “a civilian bloodbath” in the northern province, which borders Turkey.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said US-backed forces had repelled a raid by Daesh targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition supporting them were on high alert after the raid late on Friday at the Omar oil field in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the Britain-based war monitor said.
“The attack targeted the oil field’s housing, where US-led coalition forces and leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces are present,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Seven terrorists were killed in the attack, which ended at dawn after clashes near the barracks, he added.
Contacted by AFP, neither the US-led coalition nor the Kurdish-led SDF were immediately available for comment.
In October last year, the SDF took control of the Omar oil field, one of the largest in Syria, which according to The Syria Report economic weekly had a pre-war output of 30,000 barrels per day. “It’s the largest attack of its kind since the oil field was turned into a coalition base” following its capture by the SDF, Abdel Rahman said.
Daesh overran large swaths of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in territory it controlled.
But the terrorist group has since lost nearly all of it to multiple offensives in both countries.
In Syria, two separate campaigns — by the US-backed SDF and by the Russia-supported regime — have reduced Daesh’s presence to pockets in Deir Ezzor and in the vast desert that lies between it and the capital.