The IDF has admitted it killed two Hamas terrorists in error, when an IDF tank opened fire on a Gaza post on Tuesday.
According to the initial report from the IDF, the tank opened fire to retaliate for gunfire directed at IDF soldiers. There were no reports of soldiers struck by gunfire.
Hamas later denied Israel’s account, saying shots were fired as part of a graduation ceremony for a group of fighters inside the camp. The group’s armed wing said the fighters’ families and Hamas leadership attended the event, without providing names. It said Israel was “fabricating lies” and that it bore responsibility for the deaths.
The IDF later acknowledged that the Hamas shooting that led to a deadly retaliatory strike earlier today did not target IDF troops.
Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the head of the army’s Southern Command, concluded the IDF strike was made in error, as the snipers, part of Hamas’s naval commando unit, were not shooting — as the army believed in real-time — at a border fence patrol of the Rotem battalion of the Givati infantry brigade. The shooting was part of a drill being observed by senior Hamas leaders in the northern Gaza Strip.
The army has sent messages to Hamas via Egypt acknowledging the error but insisting that retaliatory fire on IDF troops would not be tolerated.
The incident took place amid Egyptian efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian terror group, which controls the coastal strip.
The IDF released the attached video appearing to show terrorists shooting from a watchtower before a tank shell hits the position.
The IDF is prepared to target any aggression against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for everything happening in and emanating from the Gaza Strip.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 7, 2018
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)