This thread hasn’t been updated in three days, and the death toll in Gaza is now over 100. Tragically, many (though not all) are innocent civilians. Israel is trying to minimize the deaths of civilians, but the very nature of urban conflict makes this difficult. The task is all the more difficult when the fighters in Gaza use civilian facilities to disguise their activities. Israel is feeling pressure to explain its airstrikes in the face of such difficulties.
As Israel Hits Mosque and Clinic, Air Campaign’s Risks Come Home
As Israel’s air war against Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters in Gaza entered its sixth day on Saturday, a pair of bombings threw the difficulties of the campaign into painful relief: Israel bombed a mosque, which its aerial photos indicated was harboring a weapons cache, and a center for the handicapped, killing two handicapped patients and wounding three, as well as a caretaker.
In a rare Saturday briefing for reporters at Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv, a senior Israeli military official said, when asked, that the army was looking into what happened at the center for the disabled. “A group is investigating now what was the target, what was the intelligence,” he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in line with military protocol.
The briefing was an apparent effort to rebuff growing international alarm at the rising death toll from the airstrikes in Gaza — 120 so far, according to Palestinian officials — and the calls for restraint.
The official spoke of the difficulties the air force faced in minimizing collateral damage in the densely populated environment of Gaza, describing the mission as “very challenging,” and showed video clips from the air that he said demonstrated the military’s care in targeting.