IDF pilot suspects children in vicinity, calls off airstrike - watch

Faced by allegations of indiscriminately striking targets in Gaza without distinguishing between Hamas officials and civilians, the IDF has decided to publish documentation that proves the contrary.

Children play a game of "Arabs and Jews" outside a school in Gaza City, Palestinian Territories, February 20, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/DYLAN MARTINEZ)
Children play a game of "Arabs and Jews" outside a school in Gaza City, Palestinian Territories, February 20, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/DYLAN MARTINEZ)
The IDF repeatedly claims to do everything in its power in order to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza while operating in a complicated reality where Hamas seemingly uses civilians as human shields.

Faced by international criticism and allegations of indiscriminately striking targets in the Gaza Strip without distinguishing between Hamas officials and civilians, the IDF has decided to publish operational documentation that shows that the truth of the matter is that avoiding hurting civilians is in fact an active and daily aspect of IDF operational reality.   

Video and audio recordings of Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilots released by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit Sunday show pilots calling off an airstrike after noticing civilians, including children, in the area.  
The mission control can be heard in the recording ordering the pilot to "check if there are children there."
"They are moving too fast, it can't be children," t
he pilot responded.  

To which the commander responded: "There are probably children here, we are stopping everything." 

The pilot then confirmed, noting that "there is a big one and a few little ones."  

The command control called off the strike as a result, saying, "We won't continue given the possibility that they are children." 

As operation Guardians of the Walls enters its eighth day, and following an estimated 3,150 rockets launched toward Israel since it started, the IDF has carried out many airstrikes against terrorist targets in Gaza, including the comprehensive underground tunnel system that has come to be known as the Hamas "Metro" and targeting numerous high-ranking official in Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). 

The IDF is known for inventing the "Roof Knocking" tactic that uses different methods to warn populated areas in advance prior to a planned strike, giving civilians the chance to evacuate the area in time.

On Sunday, Israel shared intelligence with the US showing how Hamas operated inside the same 12-story building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza. 
Later on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of committing a double war crime. 
"They’re targeting our civilians and hiding behind Palestinian civilians, effectively using them as human shields," he wrote in a Facebook post. 

Nonetheless, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's commitment to protecting the lives of innocent bystanders in a conversation with US President Joe Biden. 

“Israel is doing everything to avoid harming persons who are uninvolved," Netanyahu told Biden. "The proof of this is that the buildings in which terrorist targets are being hit by the IDF are evacuated of uninvolved persons.” 
Lahav Harkov and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.