Footage shows IDF delayed strike on Islamic Jihad position due to young girl at site

In latest army video showing efforts to avoid harming civilians, tank seen halting opening strikes; Hamas say 17 children killed in fighting; IDF blames Gaza rocket fire for 12

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A young girl is seen climbing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad observation post on the border with the Gaza Strip, August 5, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
A young girl is seen climbing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad observation post on the border with the Gaza Strip, August 5, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Friday published a video showing a young girl climbing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad observation post on the border with the Gaza Strip, causing a tank unit to delay its strike for several minutes.

The video, from last Friday afternoon, August 5, showed a young Palestinian girl climbing the stairs of the terror group’s post, before an adult male escorted her away.

The IDF said the 82nd battalion of the 7th Armoured Brigade was supposed to hit the site as part of the opening strikes of Operation Breaking Dawn, which targeted the terror group’s northern Gaza commander, several posts on the border, and squads preparing attacks.

“After receiving the order to fire at enemy positions, the tank team noticed a young girl and another man who were within the vicinity of the target,” said Major “Bet,” a company commander, who can only be identified by the first initial of his Hebrew name.

“The tank commander radioed in and reported the presence of uninvolved people in the area, and halted fire,” he said.

“We waited until they left, and after a few minutes the tank destroyed the target,” he added. The video showed the site being destroyed, killing a PIJ operative who was manning it.

The video was released as part of the military’s bid to highlight its efforts to avoid harming civilians.

Throughout the operation, the IDF sought to shore up the legitimacy of its campaign. During the three-day battle, the army said it delayed a deadly strike on senior PIJ commander Khaled Mansour several times, after identifying children playing in the area.

A video showed aerial surveillance of the home, as Israeli officers are heard speaking. Circles mark the children playing around the house where Mansour was staying. According to the military, the strike was delayed two more times, due to the presence of children, footage of which was included in the video.

In another video, the IDF showed the delay of a strike on a PIJ target to avoid harming a nearby civilian.

Palestinian terrorists launched 1,175 rockets at Israel between last Friday and Sunday night, as part of a flare-up between the sides. According to the IDF, some 200 rockets fell short in the Gaza Strip, some causing the deaths of Palestinians.

The IDF said it struck 170 targets, using fighter jets, armed drones, combat helicopters and artillery.

The targets included 17 observation posts (six of which were manned by PIJ operatives), 45 rocket and mortar launching sites, eight military camps, eight weapon caches, six weapon production facilities, three targets related to the PIJ’s naval force and an “attack tunnel.”

Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip said 48 people were killed amid the fighting, including 17 children, but it did not say how many of the total killed were affiliated with terror groups. At least 15 deaths were claimed as members by the PIJ, Hamas and another smaller terror group.

The Israeli military believes some 16 people, 12 of them children, were killed by rockets misfired by Palestinian terrorists that landed short inside Gaza.

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