Human Rights Watch says IDF’s bombing of family home during Gaza operation violated laws of war due to large number of civilians that were killed
Israel’s army countered that Palestinian terrorists were to blame for hiding in civilian buildings.
During the fighting in mid-November, the Israeli air force attacked the home of the Daloo family in Gaza City, killing 10 family members – including women and children – and two other civilians.
A military spokesman initially said it was targeting a senior member of the Hamas armed wing, whom he identified as Yahia Abayah, but the military later announced the airstrike had killed Mohammed Daloo, calling him a Hamas terrorist.
Human Rights Watch said neither Abayah nor Daloo were listed as killed on the websites of Hamas and Islamic Jihad‘s armed wings, which posts the names of its fighters killed in conflict.
The rights group said Daloo’s police commander said Daloo was a low-ranking civilian police officer serving in a unit that protects Gaza government figures and visiting officials, and was not a member of an armed group.
“Even if (the police officer) was a legitimate military target under the laws of war, the likelihood that the attack on a civilian home would have killed large numbers of civilians made it unlawfully disproportionate,” the Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
The group called on Israel to explain why it targeted a home full of civilians.
In a statement on Friday, Israel’s army said the Daloo home was a hideout for a senior Hamas terrorist involved in rocket attacks. It did not name the terrorist.
The army said it worked to minimize noncombatant casualties, making phone calls to Gaza residents warning them of airstrikes in the area, dropping leaflets from warplanes instructing them to get away from Hamas operatives and broadcasting warning messages on the radio.
It said it targeted only those sites associated with terrorist activity, based on Israeli intelligence collected for months. Civilians were never a target, it said.
“While the loss of life on both sides is regrettable, responsibility ultimately lies with terror operatives who render the civilian population a human shield by using civilian buildings as hideouts or weapon depots,” the army statement said.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4316886,00.html