Israel Closes Probe into Gaza Beach Bombing

June 12, 2015  

The IDF said on Thursday that it was dropping proceedings over a bombing of a Gaza beach where four children died during last summer’s war, AFP reported.

“The… case has been closed following the completion of a criminal investigation,” the IDF said in a statement quoted by the news agency.

Two other cases involving Palestinian Arab deaths in the fighting had also been closed, but a criminal investigation had been launched in an attack on a cafe in which nine died, according to the statement.

Cousins Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both aged 10, nine-year-old Mohamed Ramez Bakr and 11-year-old Ismail Mohamed Bakr were playing on the beach in Gaza City when they were hit in strikes witnessed by journalists staying at a beachfront hotel.

The incident is among those likely to be presented by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as evidence of alleged Israeli “war crimes”.

On January 16 the ICC announced “a preliminary examination” into Israel’s actions over a period including the Gaza war in which about 2,200 Palestinians were killed, mainly civilians.

On April 1, the PA acceded to the ICC with the goal of trying Israeli leaders over alleged abuses in the Gaza war and alleged crimes.

Israel has so far declined to respond to the prosecutor’s threatening request for information. On Thursday, senior PA sources said an ICC delegation will arrive in Israel on June 27, in a visit meant to determine if there is basis to the PA’s claims against Israel and grounds to prosecute.

The Israeli military has expressed confidence that its own internal probes will be sufficient to head off action by the Hague-based court.

A detailed study after Operation Protective Edge proved 49% of the casualties in Gaza were terrorists, meaning the IDF achieved a 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio almost unprecedented in urban warfare.

The IDF has revealed Hamas’s deep embedding of its terrorist infrastructure in the heart of the civilian population, including UN facilities, and cynical use of human shields to protect terror targets.

Thursday night’s statement said the IDF was also closing the files on the July 21, 2014 air raid on a residential tower block in central Gaza City, in which it said 15 people were killed, and a July 29 strike on the southern town of Khan Yunis which took the lives of several members of the same family.

It said that military authorities had ordered criminal investigations into the deaths of nine people in an attack on a Khan Younis cafe on July 9 and into other allegations of abusing a detainee and unlawfully firing at a medical clinic.

It also said charges were filed over alleged looting of Palestinian property by Israeli soldiers.

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