IDF Rejects as 'Lie' New Report Linking Shelling, Gaza Beach Deaths

Channel 10: Shrapnel taken from Palestinian hurt in Beit Lahia explosion was from IDF cannon.

The Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Office has rejected as a "falsehood" a Channel 10 television report that a piece of shrapnel removed from a Palestinian injured in last week's deadly explosion on a Gaza beach almost certainly came from Israeli artillery.

An internal probe by the IDF into the deaths of seven members of the Ghalia family earlier this month in an explosion on a beach in northern Gaza, concluded that Palestinian accounts that blamed IDF shelling for the blast were entirely incorrect.

The Monday television report said that a previously unreported shrapnel fragment recovered from one of those wounded in the incident, was from the type of shell Israeli artillery had been firing prior to the explosion.

"Unfortunately, Channel 10 persists in publicizing falsehoods despite having been given the true facts," said the IDF Spokesman.

The military inquiry committee headed by Major General Meir Klifi based its conclusions largely on a fragment extracted from a girl wounded in the incident who was hospitalized in Israel.

Laboratory examinations by the IDF and then by an Israeli academic institution, the army said, proved conclusively that the shrapnel was not from a 155mm shell of the type used by the IDF in shelling targeting northern Gaza at the time. The IDF said the fragment resembled explosives used by Palestinian organizations.

However, Channel 10's Shlomo Eldar reported late Monday that a second fragment, removed last week from a different Palestinian wounded in the incident, was from a 155mm shell.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch presented findings ostensibly proving that Israeli shell fragments had been found near the site of the explosion.

Israel Radio quoted unnamed senior military officials as saying that there was "zero chance" that shelling had caused the deaths, but that an unexploded shell from a past shelling attack on the beach might have detonated.