In Gaza, how mother and four kids were killed is in dispute

JERUSALEM – A Palestinian mother and her four young children were killed in the Gaza Strip on Monday during an Israeli operation against militants. A dispute quickly arose over how they had died.

The Israelis said they shot a missile from the air that hit two men carrying explosives that blew apart the family’s house behind them. Palestinian witnesses said they believed an Israeli tank shell hit the small house, killing the five as they were eating breakfast. Two children from the family were badly wounded.

The killings prompted vows of revenge and seemed likely to further complicate Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire between Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, and Israel. Shortly afterward, seven rockets and nine mortar shells were fired at southern Israel from Gaza. No one there was injured, although a building was damaged.

Outside the house of the Abu Maatak family in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, pots, children’s clothes and shoes lay scattered on the ground, a scene shown repeatedly on Palestinian and other Arab television channels along with photos of the swathed dead bodies, including that of a baby, lying in a Gaza morgue.

The dead were named by relatives as sisters Rudayna and Hana Abu Maatak, ages 6 and 3; their brothers Saleh, 4, and Mousad, 15 months, and their mother Miyasar, the youngest of three wives of Ahmed Abu Maatak, 70, who said he had gone to the market when the missile hit.

Palestinian officials said that several Israeli tanks, armored vehicles and bulldozers backed by helicopters stormed Beit Hanoun early Monday. Militant groups said in separate leaflets sent to reporters that they confronted the Israeli forces with bombs and grenades, adding that Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants exchanged fire.

Maj. Avital Leibovich, chief spokeswoman of the Israeli military for the foreign press, said that while the army was still investigating, an initial inquiry into the events showed that several Israeli armored personnel carriers had entered the area of Beit Hanoun in what she described as a routine search for rocket launchers, snipers and terrorists.

Two heavily armed men approached the Israelis, she said, leading an Israeli aircraft to shoot a missile at them, killing them. On their backs, she said, were rucksacks with apparently large amounts of explosives, which caused the nearby house to tumble and kill those inside.

Maj. Avital Leibovich, chief spokeswoman of the Israeli military for the foreign press, said that while the army was still investigating, an initial inquiry into the events showed that several Israeli armored personnel carriers had entered the area of Beit Hanoun in what she described as a routine search for rocket launchers, snipers and terrorists.

Two heavily armed men approached the Israelis, she said, leading an Israeli aircraft to shoot a missile at them, killing them. On their backs, she said, were rucksacks with apparently large amounts of explosives, which caused the nearby house to tumble and kill those inside.

Ref: Star Tribune

One Response

  1. do you know any information about this subject in other languages?

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