In the pre-dawn hours of July 23, 2002, an IDF F-16 dropped a one ton bomb on an apartment building in which Salah Shehadeh, a master Hamas terrorist and murderer, was hiding among civilians in violation of the Geneva Convention. Shehadeh had a long history of terrorist acts, and was in the process of planning more:
inmates moonbats are running the asylum
Salah Shehadeh, head of the terrorist arm that operated in the Gaza Strip as well as in Judea and Samaria, was among the founders of the Hamas and directly responsible for initiating and directing dozens of attacks carried out over the last two years, in which dozens of Israeli citizens have been killed and hundreds injured. In addition, he was behind the financing of laboratories for the production of Kassam missiles and was personally involved in the purchase and manufacture of arms.What the IDF did not know that morning was that Shehadeh had gathered his wife and children and other 'innocent civilians' around him. When the plane bombed his home in Gaza City that morning, fourteen other people were killed and another 150 were wounded. This is from a JPost account from later during the morning of the action (link no longer works):
Recently, Shehadeh was involved in the planning and execution of serious attacks, including outfitting a truck with 600 kilograms of explosives for the purpose of blowing up the Gush Katif Bridge, infiltrating terrorists into Israel in order to carry out a mass attack at crowded places in Beer Sheba, as well as other bomb attacks.
Israeli F-16 warplanes launched missiles Tuesday morning at the home of the Hamas commander of the Gaza Strip Salah Shehadeh, killing him and at least 11 Palestinians, military and Palestinian sources said.An IDF investigation concluded that the army did not know that Shehadeh had surrounded himself with 'civilians' as human shields:
The attack also wounded at least 150 Palestinians. Among the dead in the strike on a crowded neighborhood in Gaza City were women and children, including a two-month-old.
The IDF issued a statement saying the attack was aimed at Shahadeh, the mastermind of hundreds of attacks against Israelis.
Hamas vowed to avenge the bombing and hit Israelis "even in their homes," Israel Radio reported.
Shortly after the predawn raid, Hamas said Shehadeh was dead, but hours later a statement was issued saying he is still alive. At Gaza's Shifa hospital, where the casualties were taken, Hamas spokesman Ismail Haniyeh said Shehadeh's wife and three of their children were killed, but he did not know what had become of Shehadeh.
"Some sources said he is alive, some sources say he had the honor of becoming a martyr," meaning he had been killed, Haniyeh told The Associated Press.
A list of 11 dead released by the hospital did not include the names of Shehadeh or any of his family, adding further confusion. The list included two babies ages 18 and 2 months, five children ages 3-5, an 11-year-old and three adults. Doctors said more than 100 people were wounded.
The Hamas announcement said, "We will avenge the blood of the martyrs." A statement from the Palestinian Authority denounced the Israeli strike and called for international intervention to "stop these massacres."
The statement charged that the aim was to "sabotage the international efforts to pressure the Israeli government to withdraw troops ... and to get back to negotiations."
Israeli foreign ministry official Gideon Meir said the attack was a "strike against a known terrorist who is responsible for hundreds of attacks on Israeli civilians in recent years."
Meir expressed regret for the loss of life.
"To our great sorrow, in these operations, sometimes, and in military operations, civilians are also killed," he said.
Shahadeh tops Israel's most wanted list and was directly involved in a series of attacks. Shahadeh cooperated in the March 2002 attack against yeshiva students in Atzmona and the death of four soldiers at the Africa outpost in the Gaza Strip in January 2002.
The Hamas military wing has claimed responsibility for dozens of attacks against Israelis during nearly two years of fighting, including many suicide bomb attacks. Also, Hamas has been behind almost daily mortar attacks on Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.
The inquiry findings show that the procedures followed in the IDF operation were correct and professional, as were the operational assessments.No IDF officers were charged in the case. Note above that the mission had been aborted on several previous occasions due to the presence of civilians in the vicinity.
The operation resulted in the elimination of a major terrorist leader, who was sought through intelligence and operational means for a long time. At the same time, the inquiry found shortcomings in the information available, and the evaluation of that information, concerning the presence of innocent civilians near Shehadeh, who at the time was in an operational hide-out.
The IDF and the ISA stated that if their information had indicated with certainty the presence of innocent civilians in Shehadeh's vicinity, the timing or the method of the action would have been changed, as was done a number of times in the past.
As a result of the inquiry's findings, conclusions were drawn with important implications for future operations, to avoid a recurrence of such a case in the future.
The leftist group Yesh Gvul has been pursuing IDF officers who were in the chain of command of the assassination ever since, mainly in Europe. For example, in September 2005 (a month after the Gaza expulsion), retired general Doron Almog did not disembark from an El Al flight at London's Heathrow Airport to avoid arrest for the 'war crime' of being involved in Shehadeh's assassination. That same month, a lawsuit was filed in a British court against then IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe ("Boogie") Yaalon for involvement in the Shehadeh bombing.
But Shehadeh was such a heinous personality that even Israel's leftist courts and prosecution had refused to get involved. Until today.
Today, Israel's state prosecution threw much of the IDF's senior brass to the wolves. It agreed to a 'committee' that will determine who was 'guilty' of the Shehadeh assassination. No, it wasn't ordered to set up a 'committee' - it agreed to set one up:
The government agreed Monday to establish a committee to study the 2002 assassination of senior Hamas terrorist Sheikh Salah Shahadah in Gaza. The committee will determine whether or not IDF officials are guilty of criminal behavior in the case.Suppose - by some miracle - Ehud K. Olmert decides next month that the time has come to introduce Ismail Haniyeh or Mahmoud al-Zahar to their 72 virgins. Who in the IDF will carry out the order?
The announcement was made in response to a plea filed by the leftist group “Yesh Gvul” and several leftist authors and poets, represented by attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sefard. In the past, the government has opposed efforts to establish an investigative committee, saying “There’s no need to conduct a criminal investigation every time innocent civilians are hurt during fighting.”