VIDEO - An Israel Defense Forces investigation into Monday's incident in Gaza, which left a mother and her four children dead, confirmed Friday that the family was not hit by Israel Air Force fire, but rather by a detonation of weapons on the body of a nearby gunman who was targeted by an IAF missile.
The IDF released footage caught by an unmanned aerial vehicle, proving its claims. The gunman's weapons exploded as a result of the residual blast, which in turn caused the ricochets which apparently hit the family.
The inquiry revolved around a report claiming that an IDF shell hit a house in the northern Strip town of Beit Hanoun, killing five members of the Abu Meatak family.
IDF officials noted that the missile fired at the gunman is considered accurate and with a small amount of explosives.
The IDF inquiry presents the following picture:
- 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 attempted to determine the place where they would be attacked by an IAF aircraft.
- The cell members were spotted moving 400 meters (1,312 feet) away from the forces. At 8:13 am, an aircraft fired at two of the cell members, killing one of the terrorists wounding the other. The army continued to follow the injured terrorist, and about a minute 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 to target the second terrorist is close to a grape orchard, where not every civilian can be seen, and about 3 meters (9.8 feet) 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 was reported that the family members were killed. According to estimates, weapons carried by the terrorist caused the heavy damage. The house's gate is believed to have flown 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.
Father: They wiped out my family
Seven people were killed that morning as a result of the IDF strike. Palestinian medics identified the dead children as sisters Rudina and Hana Abu Meatak, aged 6 and 3; and their brothers 4-year-old Saleh and 15-month-old Mousad. Their mother, Miyasar, was in her late 30s. Her two older children were critically wounded in the strike, the officials said.
A 15-year-old boy was also killed in the strike while making his way to school. Nine people were reportedly injured, three of them sustaining serious to critical wounds.
A Palestinian source in the Strip said that a member of the al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing, was also killed by IDF soldiers.
That evening, the IDF appointed a colonel to investigate the incident and present his conclusions within 48 hours.
The army's initial investigation into the incident concluded that two Palestinian terrorists were attacked and hit from the air, causing the bomb they were carrying to explode and destroying the Abu Meatak family home. The house was hit while the family was at the breakfast table.
"They wiped out my family," said Ahmed Abu Meatak, putting his hands on his head in despair and weeping as the bodies of his wife and four children were prepared for burial.
"I left home for a few minutes to look for one of my children," the 70-year old father told the BBC. "I heard a blast and when I returned home I found my wife and children dead. They had been eating breakfast, and my wife was holding one of our children in her arms."