An IDF probe into the deaths of three Palestinian children killed in Gaza on Wednesday by IDF troops concluded on Friday that the kids were only playing near Kassam rocket launchers, and were not being used by terrorists to maneuver the launchers, as was initially thought.
Initially, the IDF had confirmed it had fired on figures handling rocket launchers, saying in a statement that it regretted that Palestinian groups "used children for terrorist purposes."
Witnesses said an IDF tank shell exploded near Beit Hanun.
Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry, reporting the deaths of the children, said 10-year-old Mahmoud Ghazal and his 12-year-old cousin Yehiya Ghazal were killed.
Their 10-year-old cousin Sara Ghazal was brought to hospital for treatment but later died of her wounds.
A relative of the children, Wasfi Ghazal, said he heard an explosion and then children screaming. He held both Israel and the rocket squads responsible.
"We are victims of the occupation and victims of the misbehavior of some of the fighters, who are randomly choosing our area to target Israel," Ghazal said.
Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the killing of the children, predicting violence would breed more violence. "This will add to the complexities and feed the fire," Erekat said.