Daily Israel Report

IDF Exonerated in Samouni Clan Deaths

Soldiers battling terrorists killed 21 bystanders from the Samouni clan during Cast Lead in 2009; they did not act recklessly.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/1/2012, 9:44 PM

IDF soldiers enter Gaza in Cast Lead
IDF soldiers enter Gaza in Cast Lead
Flash 90

Investigators tasked with investigating the deaths of 21 civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 concluded IDF soldiers were not reckless or negligent.

"The investigation has completely refuted the serious accusations leveled against the IDF by various groups that forces directly targeted non-combatants during hostilities, or made hasty or reckless decisions in regards to civilian safety," the IDF Judge Advocate General said Tuesday.

"None of those involved in the incident, from the brigade commander on down," acted carelessly.

The tragic deaths – including 9 children – occurred when the house was fired upon by IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade under the command of Col. Ilan Malha.

Members of the Samouni clan had remained in their home per IDF orders as soldiers fought an ongoing battle with terrorists in the area.

However, at one point during the battle, some members of the family attempted to leave the building.

They came under fire from nearby troops, who fired shells at the group. One or two shells hit the home, causing it to collapse.

In addition to the 21 killed, several members of the Samouni clan were injured in the collapse.

Terrorists in Gaza routinely conduct activities in densely populated civilian areas in violation of the rules of war.

IDF commanders charge terror leaders cynically place civilians in harm’s way in order to generate headlines wherein the IDF is falsely portrayed as ‘targeting civilians.’

During Operation Cast Lead, terrorist fighters systemically booby-trapped family dwellings, and placed snipers in and on buildings with non-combatants inside, such as mosques and schools.