Committee: Slim chance IDF behind Gaza beach blast
Investigative committee probing Gaza beach explosion that killed seven members of Palestinian family expected to present conclusions to IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz Tuesday evening; committee will apparently not determine direct cause of tragedy, but will mention that chances blast was caused by IDF artillery shell are slim
The investigative committee probing the Gaza beach explosion that killed seven members of a Palestinian family is expected to present its conclusions to IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz Tuesday evening, and it is estimated that while it will not determine the direct cause of the tragedy, the committee will mention that the chances the blast was caused by an IDF artillery shell are slim.
According to photos taken by the IDF, a crater characteristic of an artillery shell strike was not formed at the scene of the blast, and Palestinian accounts of the exact time location of the shelling reinforce the estimation that the IDF was not involved in the incident.
The last IDF shell was fired eight minutes before the Ghalia family was struck, and the army also obtained intelligence information pointing to the possibility that terror groups placed bombs at the scene which were meant to target special forces that may storm the beach.
'Most ethical army'
The possibility that the explosion was caused by an aerial attack or shelling from the sea was dismissed early on in the investigation, and the committee also obtained information regarding shrapnel found on the casualties, which did not match shrapnel from an IDF artillery shell.
Halutz is expected to present the findings to Defense Minister Amir Peretz; in any case, the IDF is expected to reduce its artillery fire for fear of hurting innocent civilians.
It remains to be seen whether the Palestinians will accept the committee’s conclusions or view the findings as an Israeli cover-up.
Last Sunday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at the opening of a cabinet meeting that “the IDF is the most ethical army in the world, and I reject any attempt to question its morality. The army has never made it its strategy to target civilians, and this is also true today.”