Outdated Intelligence, Social Media Rumors: Behind Israel’s Killing of Gaza Family

An Israeli strike Wednesday overnight that killed eight Palestinian family members targeted a Gaza building that appeared in an outdated target database, and it was carried out without prior inspection of civilian presence at the site.

– Haaretz Weekly 12/11

Haaretz WeeklyHaaretz

Following the attack, one of the last incidents in a two-day surge in violence between Israel and Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, the Israeli army's Arabic-language spokesman claimed that the building was a command post for an Islamic Jihad rocket launching unit in the central Strip. However, this claim was backed by unreliable information based on rumors on social media, which hadn't been verified.

The building where the family lived was on a list of potential targets, but Israeli defense officials confirmed to Haaretz that it had not been looked at over the past year or checked prior to the attack.

The officials also confirmed that they had no idea who the Palestinian whose name and picture were released by the army's Arabic-language spokesman was, stressing he wasn't known to be somehow linked to Islamic Jihad, refuting the spokesman's initial claim.

Residents of the central Gaza town of Dir al-Balah described the building that was targeted as a tin shack, but it was added months ago to the "target bank" used by the Israel Defense Forces' Southern Command as an "infrastructure target," meaning it was of interest as a site, although not because of any individual linked to it.