The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) demanded the advocate general of the Israeli Army to open a criminal investigation into the circumstances which led the death of five family members of Al Mo’attiq family in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, after the army shelled their home.The incident took place on April 28. The shell killed four children and their mother. The slain children were identified as Ahmed Abu Moatiq, 1 year old, Hanna, 3, Saleh, 4, Rodaina, 6.
B’Tselem sent a letter to the advocate general demanding him “to consider the criminal probe without regard to the inquiry currently underway by an investigating officer, and that it should also focus on the responsibility of the command echelon”.
An investigation carried by B’Tselem indicated that the Israeli air force fired a missile at three Palestinian fighters standing on a street in the northern part of Beit Hanoun. The three fighters and a Palestinian civilian were wounded.
The investigation also revealed that the aircraft fired a second missile at an armed fighter and that the missile struck an area fifteen meters away. The missile hit the gate of Abu Mo’attiq family home killing one fighter, the four children and their mother. The children and their mother were at home.
B’Tselem added that it collected material including an analysis of the area, photographs of the bodies and eyewitness accounts, and said that the collected testimonies and items cast doubt over a claim by the spokesperson of the Israeli army who argued that a secondary explosion killed the family.
The center called on the spokesperson to publish all the materials in the hands of the army that documents the attack.
Yet, B’Tselem stated that regardless whether there was a secondary explosion or not, “the firing of the second missile breached the principles of and proportionality, pillars of the international law”.
The Center said that the second missile was fired at a fighter standing near the entrance of a residential building, in a densely populated area, therefore, it was likely that civilians would be in their homes and would be hurt which is what actually happened.