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15 Nov, 2019 18:19

Wrong Abu? IDF ‘investigating’ after wiping out Gaza family of EIGHT, incl. 5 kids, in raid on presumed Islamic Jihad commander

Wrong Abu? IDF ‘investigating’ after wiping out Gaza family of EIGHT, incl. 5 kids, in raid on presumed Islamic Jihad commander

The Israeli Defense Force is investigating whether it killed eight innocent Palestinian family members, including five children, while targeting a militant leader in Gaza. It insists the building they lived in was thought empty.

Israel bombed a family home in Deir al-Balah in the early hours of Thursday morning, killing Rasmi Abu Malhous, his wife, his brother’s wife, and five of their children. While the IDF claimed Abu Malhous was an Islamic Jihad rocket squadron commander and acknowledged he was the target of the strike, the family’s neighbors say the photo the IDF published of Abu Malhous is a different man than the one killed in the strike – an apparent tragic case of mistaken identity.

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We undertake great intelligence and operational efforts not to harm non-combatants over the course of thwarting terror activities,” the IDF said in a statement on Thursday, adding that it is investigating the “claim” that innocent civilians were harmed during the strike in central Gaza in the early hours of the day. Military sources told Israeli news outlet Haaretz that the strike had targeted “infrastructure,” insisting they were unaware anyone was inside the building and that Islamic Jihad commanders often hide “ammunition and military infrastructure” in their homes. 

But the family merely shared the same name as the Islamic Jihad commander, neighbors told the Israeli outlet, adding that they “lived off herding sheep and were known as simple, poor people,” while an Islamic Jihad commander would certainly live in better surroundings. “The story that [the IDF] attacked a senior jihadist seems disconnected from reality.”

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Abu Malhous’ brother and 11 other family members – mostly children, according to al-Jazeera – were left in critical condition by the bombing, which took place just hours before an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire took effect.

A total of 34 Palestinians were killed during two days of IDF air raids on Gaza while Islamic Jihad fired scores of rockets into southern Israel. The violence was triggered by Israel’s assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu al-Atta and his wife by firing a missile into their home in Gaza, and by the attempted assassination of another Islamic Jihad leader, Akram al-Ajouri, in Damascus.

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