The Gaza doctor who complained to international and local media that the IDF killed three of his daughters and a niece in Operation Cast Lead was warned by the army several times to evacuate his family to safety, an IDF investigation concluded Wednesday.
The probe confirmed previous reports, which Dr. A-Din Abu El-Eish denied, that enemy fire was directed at the IDF from an adjacent home. His brother was at his house at the time of the incident.
IDF spokesmen also emphasized that besides personal appeals to Dr. El-Eish that he transfer his family to safety, the IDF issued warnings to area residents by dropping thousands of leaflets and sending messages via Arab media outlets.
Dr. El-Eish is a gynecologist who formerly worked at the Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva and now works at the Tel HaShomer Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
The IDF stated that Golani troops, who had been engaged in face-to-face combat for several days, came under sniper and mortar fire in the area of Dr. El-Eish's home. The soldiers spotted suspicious people, who were thought to be spotters, on the top floor of the building and returned fire.
The shelling was halted after soldiers heard screams from inside the house and realized that the home belonged to Dr. El-Eish. The army then escorted ambulances in and out of the area to allow for immediate treatment of the survivors, who were taken to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon via the Erez Crossing.
The doctor's brother and two other children suffered wounds in the shelling. Dr. El-Eish, who was on the ground floor and was not injured, later held a press conference in the Tel Aviv hospital to condemn the IDF.
An Israeli woman interrupted the press conference, complaining that the media were undermining the country's morale while two of her sons were fighting in the army.