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Report: IDF probe reveals that five children killed in Gaza died from Israeli strikes, not errant Palestinian rockets 

The lethal Jabalia cemetery strike appears to have been confused with the fatal blast of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket misfired a day earlier

Illustrative - Israeli fighter jet (Photo: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

An internal investigation by the Israel Defense Forces has concluded that the deaths of five minors in a Jabalia cemetery in Gaza on Aug. 7 were caused by an Israeli airstrike, not by an errant Palestinian rocket as the IDF originally claimed, an Israeli newspaper reported.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) made a similar claim on Tuesday, based on the exploded missile’s serial number. 

Israeli left-daily newspaper, Haaretz, quoted unnamed defense officials as suggesting Israel's culpability. Haaretz reported that the IDF had determined the Islamic Jihad had not launched rockets from the area at the time, but rather that Israeli fighter jets had carried out an attack there. 

However, the Israeli military reportedly told other local media outlets that it still is examining the incident. The IDF initially stressed that the blast was from a misfired rocket launched by the Islamic Jihad in Gaza, which occurred in a different incident a day earlier.

On Aug. 6, an Islamic Jihad rocket fell short of its target, hitting a Palestinian home and killing several people, including children. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit had shared a video of the failed launch as evidence. 

The five children, between ages 4 and 16, died just hours before a late-night Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took effect: Jamil a-Din Nijam, 3; Jamil Ehab Nijam, 13; Nazmi Qarsh, 15; and Muhamad and Hamed Nijam, both 16.

According to the IDF, one-fifth of the more than 1,000 PIJ rockets shot toward Israel during Operation Breaking Dawn misfired; many of these fell within Gaza, causing about a third of the 44 recorded Gazan deaths during the 56-hour battle.

The Najim family, whose four children died in the strike, held a vigil at the cemetery in Gaza on Tuesday. Diana Najim said the children had gone to the cemetery because it was one of the only open spaces in the neighborhood where they could play after two days of sheltering indoors. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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