In my story last week about Israeli life along the Gaza border, I wrote about how the government had been criticized for its tepid response to rocket attacks from Palestinian militants. Instead of a full military operation, which would no doubt cause even more civilian casualties, IDF had been instructed to target Kassam launchers and militant leaders. This, sadly, is what they call “collateral damage.”
Three Palestinian children were killed on Wednesday afternoon in a blast in the northern Gaza Strip, when an Israel Defense Forces tank fired on a Qassam rocket launcher.
Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry said 10-year-old Mahmoud Ghazal and his 12-year-old cousin Yehiya Ghazal were killed immediately. Their 10-year-old cousin Sara Ghazal was critically injured, and died later from her wounds.
The IDF said it fired on the Qassam launcher after it detected unidentified figures next to it.
A relative of the children, Wasfi Ghazal, said he heard the sound of an explosion and then children screaming. He held both Israel and the militant rocket squads responsible.
“We are victims of the occupation and victims of the misbehavior of some of the fighters who are randomly choosing our area to target Israel,” he told The Associated Press.
The IDF expressed sorrow for the deaths of the children, but blamed militant groups.