On July 25th we posted about the UK media’s rush to judgement after 15 Palestinian civilians were reportedly killed at a UNWRA school in Beit Hanoun – an assault that both Hamas and Israel claim might well be the fault of the other. The Guardian, Independent, and even The Times immediately blamed Israel hours after the incident, despite the dearth of evidence, and prior to the IDF’s investigation.
Within the last hour, the IDF released the following statement:
Since Thursday, July 24, 2014, the IDF has conducted a comprehensive inquiry regarding the incident in which the UNRWA school was fired upon. The inquiry concluded that during the intense fighting between IDF forces and Hamas militants, the militants operated adjacent to the UNRWA school. The militants fired anti-tank missiles at IDFsoldiers, who then responded by firing several mortars in their direction.
The inquiry and the documented footage presented here concluded that a single errant mortar landed in the courtyard of the UNRWA school, when it was completely empty.
The IDF stresses it does not operate or target international organizations in the Gaza Strip, and the ongoing coordination conducted via the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) is continuous without change, even during times of combat.
In light of the inquiry’s findings, the IDF rejects the claims that were made by various officials immediately following the incident, that people were killed in the school premises as a result of IDF operational activity.
Here’s the video they released:
We’ll have more on the media ramifications of this developing story tomorrow.