IDF sources said Saturday that the Palestinians are not cooperating in the investigation of the Gaza beach incident, during which seven civilians were killed.
Gaza Division Commander Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi is heading the IDF investigation.
The sources said the Palestinians have not disclosed information regarding the explosion’s exact location and time.
The army is looking into the possibility that an IDF artillery shell strayed from its course for some reason and has therefore asked the Palestinians for specific data that may help it reach definitive conclusions.
It should be noted that over the years the Palestinians have repeatedly refused to disclosing information following incidents in which Palestinians had been injured, making it difficult for Military Police to carry out detailed investigations.
“There were several incidents in which the IDF closed its investigations although it was clear that had the Palestinians disclosed information it may have changed the entire picture,” a military source said.
“In this case, we do not hold specific information regarding the types of injuries incurred by the Palestinians in the incident, which make it very difficult to form a clear picture of what happened.”
Investigators are not ruling out the possibility that the incident was the tragic result of a stray Qassam rocket that was fired by Palestinian terrorists.
“We have seen such cases in the past, and also other cases in which a dud exploded when Palestinians handled it, so everything is being examined,” the source said.
Injured Palestinian boy transferred to Israeli hospital
Earlier Southern Command Chief Yoav Galant said the incident took place in close proximity to the area in which the former Dugit settlement was located - an area used by terror cells to fire Qassam rockets at Israel.
“We did not open fire toward the (Gaza beach) area, so it may have been a stray artillery shell,” he said. “We must also look into the possibility that the blast was caused by Palestinians who set off a bomb or dud.”
Defense Minister Amir Peretz has relayed a personal message to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Saturday, expressing his deep regret over Friday’s explosion at a Gaza beach, during which seven Palestinians were killed.
Peretz said the security establishment would do everything in its power to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future and offered Israel’s assistance to the Palestinians. The defense minister stressed that the Qassam terror cells are the main cause for the attacks on Gaza, adding that he expects the Palestinian Authority to take action against them.
Adam Ghalia, the 9-year-old boy who was injured during Friday’s explosion on a Gaza beach, was transferred to the Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva for treatment, in accordance with Defense Minister Amir Peretz and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz’s proposal to assist the Palestinians in dealing with the incident.
The IDF allowed the boy’s uncle to accompany him to the hospital.