IDF says it wasn’t aware many civilians were present during airstrike on rocket chief that felled family

Eleven members of Dalu clan said killed while air force was targeting commander Yihya Abayo

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

A child is carried from the Dalu house on Sunday night (photo credit: Hatem Moussa/AP)
A child is carried from the Dalu house on Sunday night (photo credit: Hatem Moussa/AP)

The Israeli military said Monday an initial probe showed the air force hit and hurt a Hamas rocket chief in an airstrike on Sunday, but was not aware of the presence of numerous civilians in the targeted Gaza home at the time of the attack, which reportedly killed 11 members of the Dalu family.

The IDF launched a probe late Sunday after reports emerged it had misfired while aiming for Yihya Abiya and hit the home of the Dalu family instead, leaving Abiya with only injuries.

Reports said the wounded included three women and five children, while pictures from the scene showed a home reduced to rubble.

In Monday’s statement, the IDF said it was doing its best to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza.

Israeli officials on Sunday had said they killed Abiya, but the IDF later said it could only confirm he had been hit.

Also on Monday, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz spoke to the IDF’s regiment commanders ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Strip, and told them to do their utmost not to injure innocent people. “I demand you don’t capture a home or open fire without real need,” Gantz told them during the briefing.

The IAF has hit over 1,000 targets since Wednesday, destroying hundreds of missile launch sites and killing dozens of Hamas and other terror activists, the IDF says. Palestinians have reported more than 70 fatalities since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense on Wednesday evening. More than 900 rockets have been launched from Gaza into the south of Israel.

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