Israeli missile 'error' kills nine members of Gaza family
Air strike meant for leader of Hamas rocket teams kills nine members of the wrong family
NINE members of one family, including four children aged between two and seven, have been killed after the Israeli Defence Forces picked out the wrong house in Gaza City for a missile strike.
According to IDF spokesman Yoav Mordechai, the intended target was the home of Yehiya Rabiah, the man who heads Hamas's rocket-firing teams. Instead the missile hit the neighbouring house of Mohamed Dalou, described by the media as either a Hamas policeman or a local grocer.
Israel newspaper Haaretz claims it was told by an IDF source that the strike had hit Dalou's house because of a "technical error". The IDF will say only that the strike incurred "civilian casualties", according to the BBC.
Dalou survived because he was out at the time, but nine family members died. They are understood to be five women and four children - Sara, 7, Jamal, 6, Yusef, 4, and Ibrahim, 2.
The children were laid out in the local morgue. Hamas police struggled to control furious friends and relatives who tried to force their way in to see the bodies.
Hamas's military wing said: "The massacre of the Dalou family will not pass without punishment."
Shehda Dalou, a relative, told The Daily Telegraph: "He wasn't politically affiliated. They were just a normal family. This is just a normal street. They said the kids had been watching TV when the bomb hit."
Two neighbours, both men, are also believed to have died in the missile attack. It is not clear whether they were in the house of the 'target', Yehiya Rabiah.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last night he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths of the Dalou family and other Palestinians, but was also "alarmed” by the continuing firing of rockets against Israeli towns. "This must stop,” he said. “I strongly urge the parties to co-operate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate ceasefire."
At the time of posting, the death toll since the IDF embarked on Operation Pillar of Defence last Wednesday stands as 86 Palestinians and three Israelis.