I have abridged the following. (r.a. note)
RT News Posted Fri., June 12, 2015
Mistaking boys playing in a Gaza beach area for Hamas fighters and firing two missiles at them, killing four, is a tragic accident and not a reason to press criminal charges, an Israeli military magistrate’s office ruled.
“The case has been closed following the completion of a criminal investigation,” the IDF said in a statement on Thursday.
The incident in question happened on July 16 last year as the Israeli Defense Force was engaged in a 50-day war with the Hamas militant movement.
The hostilities killed some 2,200 Palestinians, including at least 1,492 civilians, according to a UN count. Among them were four boys aged between nine and 11. They were killed by two missiles fired by the IDF.
The attack, which also injured two other boys and a 21-year-old man sparked outrage, as journalists reporting on the aftermath of the hit said there was no apparent military target in the vicinity. Israel launched a criminal investigation into the episode, which resulted this week in a decision not to press charges against anyone.
An IDF report into the missile strike says the compound in question, located in the breakwater of the Gaza City seashore area, was presumed to be a Hamas naval force facility that no civilians would have access to. It was targeted by several attacks in the prior days, including one on the day before the incident.
Israeli intelligence spotted several people entering the installation at running speed and it was presumed they were Hamas commandos, according to the report. An Israeli aircraft launched a missile, killing one of the alleged fighters and then a second one as the remaining people tried to flee.
It was later established that the people killed were just kids, who had come to the beach to play hide and seek and soccer. The IDF insists it couldn’t identify the targets as minors prior to the attack.
Some media outlets challenged this, including the Guardian, who had a reporter at the site. The British newspaper said the compound was in plain sight of nearby hotels where foreign journalists lived and that none of them had seen any military forces there.
The facility is easily accessible from a side lane and is located in a busy public area, the newspaper added. Journalists reporting on the incident didn’t mention any military equipment found on the site.