July 2014 attack on the Gaza City beach killed four boys, aged between 9 and 11
Military advocate general found attack "accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements"
Many other incidents under investigation, says advocate's office
The Israeli military announced on Thursday that it will not take any legal action against those involved in a deadly airstrike on a beach last year.
The July 2014 attack on the Gaza City beach killed four boys, aged between 9 and 11, from the extended Bakr family. Their names were Ismail, Zakariya, Ahed and Mohammad.
“The Military Advocate General found that the attack process in question accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements. The decision to attack was taken by the competent authorities, and the attack was aimed at figures who were understood to be militants from Hamas’s Naval Forces, who had gathered in order to prepare to carry out military activities against the IDF (Israel Defense Forces),” according to the report from the IDF military advocate general, Maj. Gen. Danny Efroni.
Investigators interviewed IDF soldiers involved in planning and carrying out the attack, and they examined documents and video of the attack, according to the report. Investigators also tried to interview three Palestinian witnesses in Gaza, but the report says the witnesses declined to speak with investigators, instead offering affidavits.
The location of the attack was known to be a compound of Hamas police and naval forces, which the IDF attacked multiple times in the days before the attack that killed the four children, according to the report. When IDF aerial surveillance spotted four people running towards a shed next to the compound, officials believed them to be Hamas militants, the report says. The IDF struck the area with two missiles, killing the children.
“Tragically, in the wake of the incident it became clear that the outcome of the attack was the death of four children who had entered the military compound for reasons that remain unclear,” the report states.
There will be “no further legal proceedings” against those involved in the incident, according to the report, but “as a result of this incident, the IDF has been working to improve a number of its operational capabilities, including technological capabilities, in order to minimize the risk of the recurrence of tragic incidents of this kind,” it says.
Military advocate indicts three Israeli soldiers for looting and opens more investigations
The IDF also issued indictments against three soldiers for looting a Palestinian home during the Gaza war. According to Efroni’s report, the soldiers looted $350 from a home in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood in which they were staying. Two soldiers are charged with looting the home while a third is charged with obstruction of justice.
Efroni opened three more criminal investigations, including one in which nine people were killed at a cafe on the Khan Younis coast on July 9. Investigators will also look into allegations of abuse against a Palestinian detainee who claims IDF forces assaulted him for no reason after he was captured, and into media reports of IDF tanks intentionally firing shells at a medical clinic.
According to the report, the advocate general has looked into approximately 190 incidents from the Gaza war. Dozens of additional incidents remain under investigation.
The last Gaza war began when three Israeli teens were abducted and murdered. Israel blamed Hamas.
The retaliatory abduction and murder of a Palestinian teen wound tensions in the region to a fever pitch.
There followed a dramatic escalation in the number of rockets Hamas was firing into Israel and after a failed attempt by militants to storm into its territory, Israel launched the so-called Operation Protective Edge.
The war lasted 50 days and by the time a ceasefire was agreed, some 2,100 Palestinians, and 68 Israelis, mostly soldiers, had been killed.
CNN’s Nic Robertson contributed to this report.