The Israel Defense Forces have denied deliberately killing civilians trying to flee north Gaza in airstrikes, saying any information coming from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave should be treated with “extreme caution and suspicion” as it serves their “propaganda purposes.”
While not completely ruling out the possibility of a “freak accident,” IDF spokesperson Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus insisted on Sunday that “there was no targeting of vehicles, there was no targeting of civilians” referring to Friday’s incident, in which dozens of people were killed or injured.
The spokesman demonstrated a video showing cars driving down Salah al-Din road, following an Israeli evacuation order, before an explosion hit one of the vehicles.
“I’m not a forensic expert, I won’t be able to say if this is a roadside IED or if this is a strike from above. But what I am able to say with confidence, because we have asked, is that the IDF did not purposely strike in that area,” Conricus said.
Health officials in the Hamas-governed Palestinian enclave claimed on Friday that Israeli airstrikes hit civilian cars in three separate locations, killing 70 people, and injuring up to 150 others. The UN humanitarian body, OCHA, said that “these incidents prompted many people to abandon their evacuation efforts and return home.”