Israel quizzes colonel over Gaza raid that killed 22

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military police have questioned a senior army officer for approving an air raid that killed 22 members of the same family during the 2008-2009 Gaza war, press reports said on Friday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Fri 22 Oct 2010, 6:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:26 AM

Colonel Ilan Malka, who was head of the Givati brigade during the war, was on Thursday questioned under caution for authorising a missile strike on a building in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighbourhood, the Haaretz daily said.

The raid, which took place early on January 5, killed 22 members of the Samuni family, at least 10 of them minors, in an incident described by the UN as “one of the gravest” of the deadly operation which had begun 10 days earlier.

Security sources quoted by the newspaper said military police investigators had interviewed air force officers who said they had warned Malka there could be civilians in the area.

But Malka told them he was not aware of any warning, Haaretz said.

The Israeli military declined to confirm the report, saying only: “The case is currently under military police investigation.”

Givati units had been operating in the neighbourhood for several days before the air raid, and witnesses said it was clear the building was populated with civilians.

At the time, the military said it was an “operational error” and that it had intended to attack a weapons storage facility next door.

The military investigation was launched several weeks ago by the military’s Judge Advocate General, Ynet news website said, in a move opposed by outgoing southern command head Yoav Galant, Israel’s next chief of staff.

About 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the 22-day onslaught launched by Israel on December 27, 2008, which was aimed at halting rocket attacks from the Islamist Hamas-ruled enclave. Thirteen Israelis were also killed.

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