The Israeli military on Monday said it could not yet provide an explanation about an air strike on Gaza that killed 11 Palestinian civilians, including nine members of a single family.
The attack brought a three-storey home crashing down on the al-Dalu family inside and killed two of their neighbours. It was the highest number of deaths in a single incident since an Israeli offensive began on Wednesday with the declared aim of ending years of sporadic cross-border rocket fire.
A day after Sunday’s strike, whose victims spanned four generations, it was still not clear from Israeli comments why the building had been hit.
A military spokeswoman told Reuters the circumstances were still under investigation and she could not provide any details at this stage.
The Israeli newspapers Haaretz and Maariv said the army had fired at the wrong house, while Israel’s top-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported the al-Dalu home was indeed the target and that it housed a Hamas militant.
Around the time of the attack, the military said it had hit the commander of Hamas’s rocket-launching operations. They named him as Yihia Abayah.
Soon after, reports began coming in that a family was killed in the strike.
Several hours later, the Israeli army’s chief spokesman, Yoav Mordechai, said on television the military tried to attack Abayah.
“Although I don’t know the outcome, there were civilians harmed by this”.