After eight members of a family reportedly died in the airstrike launched in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza, Israel’s military vowed to investigate the killings saying no civilians were expected in the area. According to Israel’s security forces, the target was the home of Rasmi Abu Malhous, a militant commander from the group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Israel had retaliated to a series of Palestinian missile attacks even after a ceasefire was announced on November 14.
The residents claimed that Islamic Jihad commander was not there but his brother, who was not involved in any militant activity, got killed in the airstrike. They said that the airstrike was launched without any warning which took eight lives including five children and two women.
“Our operations against the Islamic Jihad were very accurate, very deliberate, based on the highest level of intelligence that we have,” said Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman.
“One of the key considerations was and remains to limit to the greatest extent possible collateral damage and the effect on noncombatants,” he added.
Now Israel has claimed that they intercepted two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, early on Saturday, which was followed by another airstrike on Hamas targets. Israel maintained that the Hamas was “responsible for events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it”. The military reportedly struck a Hamas military camp and a naval base but Hamas has not confirmed the same.
Omar Shakir, the country director of Human Rights Watch, suggested that “proportional” damage to civilians with respect to military gain is permissible under international law if there is a potent threat from the target. “We’ve seen several rounds of fighting now in Gaza where civilians have lost their lives or had their property damaged and faced harrowing circumstances as the result of unlawful attacks by both parties,” said Shakir. But the Human Rights advocate is under fire and reports suggest that Israel intends to expel him in 10 days.