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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

IDF rules out artillery fire in Gaza beach deaths

The IDF has ruled out artillery fire as the cause of death of eight 'Palestinians' at a Gaza beach two Friday's ago, according to HaAretz and al-Reuters.

An exhaustive examination of two pieces of shrapnel, which were extracted from Palestinians wounded in an explosion on the Beit Lahia coast in Gaza, conclusively prove that the shards did not originate from a 155-mm shell used by the Israel Defense Forces' artillery corps on the day of the incident, an internal IDF commission of inquiry said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters at a Tel Aviv news conference, the head of the commission, IDF Major General Meir Kalifi, said he is convinced that the seven members of the Ghalia family who were killed did not die as a result of IDF artillery fire from that day.

Nonetheless, Kalifi said the investigation into the real reasons behind the explosion continues. As such, Kalifi cited two main possibilities which the IDF is considering caused the explosion: an explosive device planted by Palestinians for the purpose of tripping up IDF troops operating in the area, or a dud from Israeli ammunition fired in the past.

IDF Lieutenant Colonel Eren Toval, who supervised lab tests of the two pieces of shrapnel, said the shards did include high levels of explosives although their quality remains unknown. Kalifi added that explosives of this kind are employed by the IDF as well as by Palestinian armed groups.

Read the whole thing.

Update 6:35 PM

More of the same article:

Kalifi said Garlasco's findings are circumstantial ones which do not prove that an IDF shell which was fired at the site was what caused the explosion.

Kalifi said the shards of shrapnel which Garlasco collected were found some 200 meters from the spot of the explosion and thus do not prove that it was an IDF shell which hit the family.

"We admitted that we fired ammunition at the spot in the past," Kalifi said. [And in fact, if you look above, you will see that one of the two possibilities they raise is that the explosion was caused by an old Israeli dud. CiJ]


The IDF source said the investigating general told Human Rights Watch the army had accounted for all shells fired during that time period.

He said much of the group's evidence, such as shrapnel, was obtained from third parties or not collected at the scene.

"As such, there are significant flaws with the credibility of much of the evidence," the source said.

The Human Rights Watch statement follows a report by Israeli television on Tuesday which said the delayed explosion of a dud Israeli shell may have killed the beachgoers.

The army has not ruled this out.


At 11:36 PM, Blogger LanceThruster said...

A rebuttal is found here:

Israel Engineers Another Cover-Up
Leaving the Truth Buried in Gaza's Sands




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