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Army has said tank shell was aimed at terrorists in the area

Court hears Gaza doctor’s plea for IDF apology over strike which killed 3 daughters

Izzeldin Abuelaish appears before Israel’s highest court to demand compensation for 2009 deaths of his 3 daughters during war with Hamas terror group

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish lobbying for support for a college to honor his daughters and niece at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 10, 2021. (AP Photo/ Sebastian Scheiner)
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish lobbying for support for a college to honor his daughters and niece at the Knesset in Jerusalem, November 10, 2021. (AP Photo/ Sebastian Scheiner)

A Palestinian doctor appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday to order the military to issue an official apology and compensation for a 2009 Israeli strike in Gaza that killed three of his daughters and a niece.

For 13 years, Izzeldin Abuelaish has sought justice for what he says was a terrible mistake by the Israeli army. A tank strike on his Gaza home during the 2009 war between the Hamas terror group and Israel killed his daughters Aya, 14, Bessan, 21, and Mayar, 15, as well as his niece, Noor, 17. Another daughter survived, but was wounded.

The Israel Defense Forces has said the strike was aimed at terrorists in the area, and in 2018, a lower court sided with the army. Now, the Supreme Court is hearing Abuelaish’s long-delayed appeal.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom before the hearing, Abuelaish said he felt his daughters were with him and that he was “coming to advocate for the truth and their rights.”

“I hope today this court [will] not kill them again,” he said.

Abuelaish, who moved to Canada after the tragedy, was a well-known figure in Israel when the strike occurred.

Palestinian Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish poses for a picture with his children in his house in Jebaliya, northern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

The Harvard-educated doctor and peace activist had worked at an Israeli hospital, while living in the Gaza Strip.

During the 2009 war, the first of four between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers, he provided live updates to Israeli media in fluent Hebrew.

But when his home was hit, an Israel TV station delivered a real-time report from a sobbing Abuelaish to Israelis. “My daughters have been killed,” he cried as a journalist listened at the other end of the line as the audio aired live.

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