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Israeli army says shelling of house where girls died was 'reasonable'


Israel's military last night admitted that one of its tanks killed three girls at their home in Gaza during last month's war in a case that shocked the Israeli public, but said the shelling was "reasonable." The Israeli military said two shells had hit the house of a Palestinian doctor, Izz el-Deen Abu el-Eish, on 16 January, killing his daughters. Moments after their death the Hebrew-speaking gynaecologist was interviewed by mobile phone live on an Israeli television channel, screaming with grief in an extraordinary scene...

[51555]



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Israeli army says shelling of house where girls died was 'reasonable'

Rory McCarthy, The Guardian

Feb 5, 2009



Israel's military last night admitted that one of its tanks killed three girls at their home in Gaza during last month's war in a case that shocked the Israeli public, but said the shelling was "reasonable."

The Israeli military said two shells had hit the house of a Palestinian doctor, Izz el-Deen Abu el-Eish, on 16 January, killing his daughters. Moments after their death the Hebrew-speaking gynaecologist was interviewed by mobile phone live on an Israeli television channel, screaming with grief in an extraordinary scene.

For most Israelis it was the first time they had seen such a striking case of civilian deaths in the war, even though hundreds of the 1,300 Palestinian dead were believed to be civilians. The Channel 10 television correspondent who interviewed el-Eish arranged for the military to rush other injured members of the family to hospital in Israel for treatment, where they remain today.

The Israel Defence Force said soldiers from its Golani infantry brigade were under sniper and mortar fire in the area near the man's house in Shujaiya, east of Gaza City. It said soldiers identified "suspicious figures" in the house who they thought were "spotters" for Hamas fighters and opened fire, killing the girls.

"The IDF is saddened by the harm caused to the Abu el-Eish family, but at the same time states that considering the constraints of the battle scene, the amount of threats that endangered the force, and the intensity of fighting in the area, the forces' action and the decision to fire towards the building were reasonable," the military said.

Last night, el-Eish, who was still in hospital in Israel with his surviving relatives, said he was grateful his account of the incident had been recognised. "Thank God the truth has been revealed," he said. "I was always sure that my case was just."






:: Article nr. 51555 sent on 06-feb-2008 13:13 ECT

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Link: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/05/israel-military-civilian-deaths-gaza



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