Five Gazan children may have been killed by IDF fire, Ha’aretz article claims

The IDF’s probe into the incident reportedly shows the Islamic Jihad did not fire rockets at the time.

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Five Palestinian children were killed in an Israeli airstrike and not by a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket as initially thought, the far-left Haaretz daily reported, citing anonymous defense officials.

The incident, which the IDF is reportedly still investigating, occurred on the last day of Operation Breaking Dawn in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

The children were killed in a strike near a cemetery near Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip in which two senior Islamic Jihad commanders were also killed, the unnamed defense officials told the newspaper.

The IDF initially assessed that the minors were killed by a rocket that fell short of its target, as had happened in the same area a day prior in an incident that claimed the lives of eight Palestinians including four children. In the first Jabaliya case, Palestinian media blamed Israel, but the IDF soon released evidence showing the errant rocket. In the cemetery incident, the IDF did not publicly confirm who was responsible.

According to Haaretz, the IDF’s probe into the second incident showed the Islamic Jihad did not fire rockets at the time while Israel Air Force jets were present.

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The five victims were Jamil al-Din Nijm, 3; Jamil Ihab Nijm, 13; Mohammad Nijm, 16; Hamed Nijm, 16; and Nathmi Karsh, 15.

The IDF responded to the report, saying it had “attacked military targets belonging to the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. As part of its activity, the IDF took all reasonable efforts to reduce, as much as possible, any harm to civilians and their property.

“The IDF is examining and investigating its actions during the operation and its results. The incident’s circumstances are being investigated,” the army said.

The army investigates all actions during any operation, the military said.

In general, the IDF is especially careful when carrying out strikes against targets in built-up residential areas. The strike in question occurred near the al-Fallujah cemetery, and according to pro-Palestinian MK Ahmed Tibi, the children were killed while visiting the grave of their grandfather, although it seems strange that children would be going to the cemetery during wartime.

Israel launched the three-day campaign because Islamic Jihad was planning a deadly attack against Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers by launching an anti-tank guided missile aimed at killing civilians and soldiers.

More than 1,000 rockets were launched at Israel by Islamic Jihad terrorists, of which over 200 fell within Gaza.