- Published on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 12:51
An investigation into the killing of 21 members of the a-Samuni family by the Israeli Occupying Force, during the siege on Gaza, has been closed by Israel's military prosecution, with no steps to be taken against those responsible for the deaths.
According to B'Tselem Israeli human rights group, the Israeli Military Advocated General Corps (MAG) informed them in a letter sent by Major Dorit Tuval, from the MAG Corps for operational matters, to both B'Tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza (PCHR), that it had closed the military police investigation into the killing of the 21 family members.
They wrote that they completely disproved any claim about deliberate harm to civilians or criminal negligence, but failed to provide any details of the investigation or reasons behind closing the file issued by B'Tselem
The complaint was issued based on the incident which happened on the 4th January 2009 during the seige on Gaza. 100 members from the a-Samuni family were removed from their houses by the IOF and ordered to gather in a small house. According to media sources the family felt as though they were in safe hands as they were gathered in close proximity, under close watch of the IOF, and invited other family members stating that it was a safe place to reside.
At 6.30 the following morning, as family members attempted to leave the house, the military fired a missile towards them, killing 1 and wounding 2. They then proceeded to fire shells and missiles directly at the house, causing the house to collapse, killing 21 people including women and children and injuring dozens.
Moreover, the IOF prevented all family members from leaving and prevented the Red Cross from entering, leaving the remaining family members with the dead bodies for 2 days. When they were eventually allowed in to evacuate the injured, the army demolished the house with the dead bodies inside.
B'Tselem have condemned the military's response to the investigation as unacceptable, as they have exempted themselves from all responsibility for the murder of unarmed civilians and have called upon an alternative investigatory body to look into the incident.