“We identified a few [figures]. Something black moving through the house â âblackâ meaning hot. It took some work to secure a firepower source that could be used against the house. An aircraft was directed at it â and later we spotted ambulances [arriving] at the area and some kind of crowd. The soldier and the officer werenât sure they understood what had happened there, they werenât sure it wasnât some family they just took down in there. And later on the news there were reports of five deaths in that neighborhood. There was no way to know, one doesnât know for sure â but there was no way we could have [determined the figures in the house] were armed, or posed some kind of threat. It was clear to everyone that the possibility [of determining whether or not they were armed] was nonexistent, and it was clear to everyone that this was a gray zone where you say to yourself, âThat could very well be an innocent person.â If thatâs an innocent person, whatâs he doing there? It could be that a second later heâll pull something out and endanger a soldier who is somewhere out there. Itâs perfectly clear this was the situation there. This dilemma is always present, throughout the operation. You donât know whoâs innocent and who isnât, and there are cases when you will never know. Seen in this light, [that incident] was very significant.”
What was the distance between the forces and [the figures they spotted]?
“I donât know. We knew there were forces there, you could see tank rampart enclosures (Defensive compounds made of rubble embankments) here and there. But it wasnât like there was a detailed update about where there were forces and what the distances were between them and the identification. You verify with the operation rooms that there are no [IDF] forces there, you inform the battalion, the battalion is supposed to arrange firepower from the division, thatâs where the circle closes. It took a long time until they addressed that report, thatâs why it took, like, two hours.”
And what happens after those two hours?
“They (the forces conducting the fire) get in touch with us for precise details, exact location, which window, which floor. Itâs the most precise fire there is. And then they fired, and [reported] a hit.”
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.