The admission by an Israeli official to Kan public broadcaster comes as Israel has been accused of using ‘dirty’ bombs on Gaza.
An Israeli military official has said that the high death toll from an attack on Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza was the result of the use of improper munitions, showing a spotlight on Israel’s military tactics that have created high numbers of civilian casualties.
Speaking to the Israeli public broadcaster Kan, a military official on Thursday said that the raid on Maghazi, which killed at least 70 people, used munitions that were not appropriate for a packed refugee camp.
“The type of munition did not match the nature of the attack, causing extensive collateral damage which could have been avoided,” the official told the Israeli Kan public broadcaster.
“The (Israeli army) regrets the harm to those who were uninvolved and is working to learn lessons from the incident,” the official added.
The statement on the bombing, which the Israeli military had previously said was being investigated, comes amid reports that Israel has regularly used powerful bombs in the tightly packed strip, despite the increased risk of civilian casualties.
Earlier this month, the US news outlet CNN reported that nearly half of the Israeli munitions used on Gaza have been unguided “dumb bombs”, citing a US intelligence assessment. Such munitions are less accurate and carry a greater risk of inflicting civilian casualties.
Israel says it’s Christmas Eve massacre of 70 Palestinians in Maghazi refugee camp was a “mistake” because “the type of weaponry used did not match the nature of the mission.”
In other words, the hundreds of massacres that killed tens of thousands of civilians which Israel…
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) December 28, 2023
The Israeli news outlet +972 also previously reported that the Israeli military has loosened its standards regarding acceptable civilian harm from attacks, resulting in a higher portion of civilians killed than in previous rounds of military assaults.
Palestinian authorities say that more than 21,000 people have been killed in Israel’s assault on Gaza, more than half of them women and children.
The current round of fighting was preceded by months of rising tensions, but began on October 7 when the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched an attack on southern Israel that authorities there said killed more than 1,100 people and took more than 240 people captive.
The attack on Maghazi is not the first to raise questions about the indiscriminate nature of Israel’s bombardment, which has transformed entire neighbourhoods in Gaza into mountains of rubble. On Thursday, nearly 100 people have been killed in attacks on various locations across Gaza.
Palestinian authorities said that at least 90 people were killed in Israeli attacks on a residential block in the Jabalia refugee camp earlier this month, and in early December, Israeli attacks killed 700 Palestinians in a single day.
Palestinians in the besieged enclave say they have nowhere safe to flee from Israel’s relentless bombardment, which has also targeted areas that Israeli authorities had told civilians to move towards to avoid fighting.
Aid agencies, including the UN, have decried Israeli targeting of schools, hospitals and residential areas, with the Israeli bombing of Gaza considered the most destructive in recent history.