Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip say that a 17-year-old girl was killed and a baby was wounded as result of IDF artillery fire. At least 11 people sustained wounds in the incident according to the report.
An initial probe into Thursday's clash showed that IDF troops did not hurt any Palestinians in the incident, the army said. IDF officials said that the Palestinians fired several mortar shells during the clash, and that the girl was killed by this Palestinian fire.
However, the army's assessment changed late Thursday, with officials admitting that the girl was likely killed by Israeli fire.
IDF tank near Gaza (Photo: Reuters)
The troops involved in the incident belong to the Granite Regiment of the Nahal Division and recently replaced Golani troops who were deployed in the area for the past few months. After the forces were shot at, they responded with accurate mortar fire directed at the source of the Palestinian fire, the initial probe showed.
The army said that the initial investigation showed the troops acted properly.
Palestinian home reportedly hit by IDF (Photo: AFP)
IDF officials are also checking whether the terrorist cell deliberately staged the attack near a civilian area. Army officials made it clear that troops are obligated to defend the border and return fire whenever they are shot at.
Palestinian sources dismissed the initial IDF claims regarding the cause of the girl's death, saying they would not mind possessing the kind of mortars that killed her.
"The IDF force was targeted by RPG shells, while the home was completely destroyed, which shows it was a result of Israeli artillery fire," one source said. "No rocket or RPG could cause the kind of destruction we saw at the house."
Exchanges of fire reported
The clash apparently followed a Palestinian attempt to detonate a roadside bomb near an IDF jeep traveling in the area, the sources said. Following the incident, Palestinians reported exchanges of fire between IDF forces and gunmen.
In recent weeks, several incidents were reported near the Gaza Strip border. On Monday, IDF forces fired at Palestinians who were placing an explosive device near the Karni Crossing. A short while earlier, a mortar shell fired from the northern Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel.
Ali Waked contributed to the report