The Israeli army has admitted that three Palestinian men killed in a shelling strike in the northern Gaza Strip over the weekend were civilians.
On Sunday afternoon, Israeli troops fired five tank shells into the coastal sliver’s northern city of Beit Hanoun, near the Erez checkpoint.
The attack killed a 91-year-old man identified as Ibrahim Abu Said and his 21-year-old grandson, Ismail. The body of Hosam Khaled Ibrahim Abu Es’ayed, 16, was later found and handed over to hospital officials, according to Ma’an news agency.
The Israeli army initially accused the men of being involved in armed activities and claimed they were preparing to launch rockets at Israeli posts near the separation fence.
But a report on Tuesday acknowledged that the men were attending to their farmland and cattle near what Israel has declared as a "no-go zone" along the de-facto border when they came under Israeli tank fire.
The report claims the 21-year-old Palestinian was seen lifting a loaded rocket-propelled-grenade launcher seemingly aiming it at Israeli forces at the border.
The Israeli commander of the Gaza division, Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg, told Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday that an initial probe found that the three civilians found a rocket launcher and innocently picked it up.
Israeli tanks opened tank and machine gun fire on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing one Palestinian and wounding four others.