A day after an Israeli missile strike
in Gaza killed three innocent bystanders along with two Islamic Jihad terrorists and wounded seven others, Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy said, "We are doing everything we can possibly think of to prevent innocent people from being harmed, but this is a war and nothing is certain."
According to Shkedy, who spoke at a conference at Tel Aviv University on Tuesday, at the time the missile was launched at the targeted vehicle containing Islamic Jihad terrorists there were no bystanders in the vicinity.
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"At the moment, it seems the pilot made no mistakes and there were no technical problems," said Shkedy, "we hit the center of the vehicle as it reached the least populated area."
Munir Abu Sukker, 30, a senior Islamic Jihad commander involved in Kassam rocket attacks and recent attempts to smuggle suicide bombers from Gaza into Israel, was killed along with three others Monday afternoon.
Iyad Abu Shalouf, an Islamic Jihad member who rode in the car with Sukker, was killed, as well as two Palestinian bystanders, who were later identified as Ahmed Sousi, 17, and Ra'ed al Batch, eight. A third bystander, who was not identified, was also killed.
Security establishment officials already announced that the latest Gaza strike would be investigated, but that preemptive operations would continue.
"We haven't always been able to prevent harming bystanders, but it must be kept in mind that in 2005 one civilian was harmed for every 28 terrorists we hit," said Shkedy.
In 2006, the percentage of terrorists killed in Air Force strikes stood at 54 percent of all terrorists killed by Israeli security forces.
In 2003 the percentage stood at 17; in 2004 it was 24%; and in 2005 it was 31%; Shkedy told the crowd.