Israel Admits It Lied Over Missile Raid on Camp - Guardian
The Israeli military has admitted that it lied about a rocket attack on a Gaza refugee camp, which according to the army led to no casualties, but which the Palestinians have claimed killed 14 civilians.
A leftwing member of the Israeli parliament, Yossi Sarid, forced the confession from the air force chief after he threatened to release evidence that the military had used a weapon more destructive and indiscriminate than it had publicly claimed.
A month ago, the air force launched an assassination strike against a Hamas activist who was driving through Nuseirat refugee camp. The Palestinians claimed that the attack caused a large number of civilian casualties, but the air force commander, Major General Dan Halutz, produced video footage of the car being hit by two missiles that showed no one standing near the wrecked vehicle as the rockets struck.
The military said that Hellfire missiles were used, producing a concentrated explosion over a small area. Gen Halutz likened the effect of the missiles to "two grenades". The video footage was widely shown on Israeli television.
But the army now admits that it lied in briefings to the Israeli and foreign press, because the second rocket was not a Hellfire missile.
The military refuses to identify the weapon used, on the grounds of "operational security". But the speculation is that it was an American-made Flechette, which is illegal under international law because it fires thousands of tiny darts over hundreds of meters, causing horrific injuries. Israel has used similar weapons in Gaza in the past.
[ 22 November 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]
[ 23 November 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]