IDF: civilian deaths unexpected in Gaza strike

Probe conducted at the end of Operation Black Belt in Gaza shows that the 8 civilians who were killed in the operation were 'in a military area belonging to PIJ'

Yoav Zitun|
As part of its after-action probe, the IDF on Tuesday stated that although a compound attacked during Operation Black Belt resulted in the deaths of eight civilians - all from the same family – the area was marked as a military target by security intelligence services.
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  • Operation Black Belt was initiated in November, following the killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) military leader in the Gaza Strip, Baha Abu Al-Ata.
    2 View gallery
    גופות ילדי בני המשפחה בעזה
    גופות ילדי בני המשפחה בעזה
    Members of the family that was killed in the IDF attack
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The IDF's Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement that the IDF had authorized measures to prevent such incidents from occurring again.
    "At the end of its probe, several recommendations were authorized in order to prevent such incidents from occurring again," read the statement. "The area was identified as a military compound belonging to the PIJ."
    "The probe shows that the target was marked following thorough intelligence work and has shown signs of military activity during Operation Black Belt'.
    An IAF airstrike in Gaza during 'Operation Black Belt'
    "The operational assessment prior to the attack did not point to civilians residing in the area."
    The probe also pointed out that the order to attack the compound was already given by IDF Southern Command last June in accordance with military intelligence and was already attacked by the IAF in past strikes, the latest being several days before the beginning of the operation.
    2 View gallery
    Rockets fired by Islamic Jihad towards Israel
    Rockets fired by Islamic Jihad towards Israel
    Rockets fired by Islamic Jihad towards Israel
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "The main conclusion of the probe was that Operation Black Belt achieved all of its preordered targets."
    It succeeded in bettering conditions in the Gaza Strip through the killing of Abu Al-Ata, heavily damaging terrorist infrastructure and hitting PIJ militants - decreasing the possibility of attacks on Israeli citizens and refraining from escalating to a full-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip."
    During the first two days of the operation, about 25 terrorists involved in planning terror and rocket attacks were eliminated".
    A video showing rocket fire by Islamic Jihad
    "In addition, about 100 PIJ infrastructure targets were hit, among them weapons manufactories and military outposts. The result of these actions, which were prepared and based on intensive intelligence plans over the last few months, has dealt a severe blow to the PIJ.
    "When it comes to the use of firearms, the investigation shows that both at the command and division level, quality procedures were instituted to increase the effectiveness of the attacks."
    The statement also mentioned the effectiveness of the Iron Dome defense system during the operation.
    "The IDF's defense systems intercepted the great majority of the rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, with a success rate of about 90%."
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