PM Benjamin Netanyahu expresses regret for Gaza civilians killed in IDF strike
ISRAEL, March 23, 2011 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed regret for the unintentional killing of four innocent civilians by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza on Tuesday, HAARETZ reported on Tuesday.
Israel Defense Forces said that Palestinian militants had fired at them. In returning fire, they accidentally hit four members of the same family in the Gaza neighborhood of Sagaya.
Palestinian medics said those killed in the attack were aged 12, 16 and 17and 58.
“It is unfortunate that Hamas continues to rain rockets aimed at the citizens of Israel, while using citizens as human shields.” Netanyahu said.
“The state of Israel has no intention to bring about a deterioration in the current situation,” the prime minister added, “but the IDF will continue to act decisively in order to defend the citizens of the state of Israel.”
The IDF has opened up an investigation into the incident.
Shortly after it became clear that civilians had been killed, the IDF made clear that they did not know there were civilians in the area at the time of the strike.
Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, an IDF spokeswoman, stressed that Israel had no desire to raise tensions and hoped that Hamas also didn’t have that intention. “We never operate when civilians are identified,” she said.
On Tuesday evening, and IDF airstrike targeted a group of Islamic Jihad militants who were about to launch a Grad rocket.
Islamic Jihad said three of its militants were killed and another was injured.
On Saturday, southern Israel was hit by over 50 rockets, of which Hamas claimed responsibility for 10. The Israeli Air Force struck Gaza targets in retaliation for the bombardment.
On Monday, an IAF fighter jet struck a Gaza tunnel running along the border with Israel, as well as Hamas militants in the northern Gaza strip, an IDF statement confirmed.
The IDF spokesperson’s office released a statement saying that the Gaza tunnel was used to smuggle terrorists into Israeli territory with the intent to execute attacks against Israeli citizens. (*)