IDF: No troops were operating in area where 6-year-old Gazan girl was killed earlier this month – initial probe

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

6-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab (Family handout via AFP)
6-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab (Family handout via AFP)

Following reports from earlier this month that a six-year-old Palestinian girl along with five of her family members and two medics who had gone to save her were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza City, the IDF says its initial investigation suggests no troops were in the area.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society accused Israel of deliberately targeting the ambulance it sent to rescue Hind Rajab after she had spent hours on the phone with dispatchers begging for help with the sound of shooting echoing around.

Family members found Hind’s body along with those of her uncle and aunt and their three children inside a car near a roundabout in the Tel al-Hawa suburb of Gaza City. Another of Hind’s uncles, Sameeh Hamadeh, said the car was peppered with bullet holes.

In response to a query on the matter, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit tells The Times of Israel that “from a preliminary investigation that was conducted, it appears that IDF troops were not present near the vehicle or within firing range of the described vehicle in which the girl was found.”

“Also, given the lack of forces in the area, there was no need for individual coordination of the movement of the ambulance or another vehicle to pick up the girl,” the IDF says.

“Every day, dozens of ambulances move without individual coordination throughout the Strip, and as long as there are no forces in the area, the movement does not require coordination,” it continues.

The IDF adds the incident has been handed over to the General Staff Fact-Finding Assessment Mechanism, an independent military body responsible for investigating unusual incidents amid the war.

The US had asked Israel to launch a probe into the incident.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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