A blast in northern Gaza that killed a Palestinian mother and her four children on Monday was not caused by the Israeli Air Force, a probe into the explosion conducted by the IDF Southern Command concluded on Friday.This is largely consistent with the findings of B'Tselem and Al-Jazeera and completely at odds with the initial "eyewitness" accounts that were published immediately worldwide in thousands of media outlets as fact.
Col. Shai Alkilai from the Southern Command conducted the probe over the last few days under orders from OC Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant and IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Elazar Shkedi.
The blast under investigation occurred Monday morning in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun, when according to Palestinians, an IDF tank shell hit the home of the Abu Meatak family, as the mother Miyasar was preparing breakfast for her children. She was killed together with the four children.
According to the findings of the probe four terrorists were spotted carrying weaponry and explosives on their backs. The IAF fire was on target and only hit the armed terrorists. As a result there occurred secondary explosions which destroyed the home and killed the mother and her children.
The IDF probe ruled out the possibility that the family was hit by IDF fire. The IDF probe also revealed that the secondary explosion was far greater than the type of explosion caused by the initial IDF bombing and the munitions it had used.
And even though the Palestinian Arabs have a consistent track record of lying in the aftermath of events like these, the world media will still trust them more than the Israelis.
See my earlier coverage here, here, here, and here.
UPDATE 1: Video
UPDATE 2: YNet adds more details:
At around 8 am, a cell of four terrorists was spotted firing at Givati troops operating in the Beit Hanoun area. IDF officials in the command room followed the cell, confirmed that they were terrorists carrying explosives, and for attempted to determine the place where they would be attacked by an IAF aircraft.The part about the family being outside is new; B'Tselem didn't say that although one of the photos of the scene seemed to indicate that at least one kid was outside. At any rate, the "preparing breakfast" part of the story is in doubt.
The cell members were spotted moving 400 meters away from the forces. At 8:13 am, an aircraft fired at two of the cell members, hitting them. One of the terrorists was killed and his friend was wounded. The army continued to follow the injured terrorist, and about a munite later the aircraft fired another missile at him, identifying an accurate hit.
Footage released by the IDF on Friday shows that civilians standing several meters away from the terrorist were not hurt. As the missile used to target him was accurate. The location selected by the IDF for targeting the second terrorist is close to a grape orchard, where not every civilian can be seen, and about three meters away from the gate of the Palestinian family's home.
Seven minutes after the second missile was fired, reports were received about civilians being hit, and several hours later it turned out that the family members were killed. The family was hit after the second missile was fired, and according to estimates, weapons carried by the terrorist led to greater damage. The house's gate apparently flew at the family members, who were at the time outside the house, inside the grape orchard.
A number of sub-blasts took place following the first explosion, as a result of the weapons carried by the terrorists, which were not directly caused by the missile explosion. As part of the inquiry, the IDF examined previous incident in which similar missiles were fired.