Monday, June 12, 2006

DEBKA: Family on beach killed by Hamas bomb

Again, not a mainstream news source, but DEBKA has broken accurate stories before.

Israeli leaders have ordered army commanders to put their counter-missile offensive on hold pending the findings of the military probe into the deaths of seven Palestinians, including children, on Gaza’s beach Friday, June 9. Cooperation between US, Israel, Palestinian Authority and Egyptian intelligence has yielded an initial impression that the blast that caused seven Paletinian deaths on a Gaza beach Friday, june 9, was caused by one of a series of bombs Hamas planted last week on the northern Gazan beach. They were put there as daisy chain traps in case Israeli commandos landed by sea to take Qassam missile launchers in northern Gaza by surprise. The theory gaining ground is that the Palestinian picnickers had the bad luck to detonate one of those bombs.

The day after the mishap, Saturday, dozens of people were sighted combing the scene of the blast and removing the bombs, according to information passed to Israel by Palestinian intelligence, which is engaged in a blood feud with Hamas

To explain this Palestinian helpfulness, DEBKAfile’s sources reveal how the close Abu Mazen associate Muhammed Dahlan was humiliated when he made the gesture of presenting his condolences for the killing of the new Hamas militia commander Jemal Semadhana last week at the official mourners’ tent. Instead of his courtesies being accepted, he was pitched out of the tent by Hamas and Semdhana’s Popular Resistance Committees’ musclemen. He was thus treated to the ultimate insult for a Muslim. Islamic canons enjoin even enemies to be treated with respect in a mourning period. Dahlan was so enraged that he ordered PA intelligence to assist Israeli in its probe to find out if a Hamas bomb rather than an Israeli artillery shell was the true culprit behind the death of the Palestinian family. As yet it is not yet clear how much information Dahlan will allow the Palestinian service to release on the episode.

YNet adds some details:
Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Sunday that the security established had completely excluded the possibility that the explosion was caused by an IDF air force or naval strike already during initial investigations. However, the possibility Israeli artillery fire caused the blast was still being examined.

“Out of six shells that were fired, the landing spot of one of them is unknown,” Peretz said. However, he added, there are great disparities between the time at which the army recording firing shells and the time the beachfront explosion occurred, according to Palestinian reports.

IDF investigations found that the shell that hit closest to the blast site landed a full 200 to 250 meters away, and therefore could not have caused the deadly explosion.