Israeli Army Insists Gaza Strike That Killed Family of Nine Targeted ‘Military Compound’

The Israeli army said Tuesday that a Gaza complex hit in an Israeli strike last month, causing the death of nine family members, including children, was a "military compound" used by Islamic Jihad.

The shack of the al-Sawarkah family in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza was targeted toward the end of the two-day flare-up in the enclave after Israel assassinated Islamic jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata in mid-November.

After concluding its investigation into the matter, the army said that the intelligence gathered showed that the family's shack was part of a "compound of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization, and that military activity was carried out there in the past as well as during [the] operation."

In addition, the investigation indicated that while planning and executing the strike, the Israel Defense Forces predicated that uninvolved civilians wouldn't be harmed. Moreover, the army added that the "target was confirmed according to intelligence collected by the Southern Command in June, in accordance to the relevant intelligence methods, followed by several verifications, the last one being just a few days prior to the strike."

The investigation also shows that while military activity was carried out in the targeted compound, it wasn't a closed compound, with civilians in it. The summery of the investigation included several recommendations aiming at reducing as much as possible the possibility that such unusual incidents will happen in the future.

During the two days of fighting, the army said, "some 25 terror operatives, who were responsible for rocket fire at Israel and more complexed terror activities, were neutralized," adding that some 100 Islamic Jihad targets were struck, among them weapons manufacturing compounds and military outposts.

"As a result of these actions, which were carried out on the basis of intensive intelligence gathering over the past months, significant damage was caused to Islamic Jihad," the army said.