The Israeli military has today announced that it is closing its investigation of the January 2009 killing of 21 members of a single family in the Gaza Strip, saying that “no legal steps” will be taken against those responsible for the deaths.
The killings were among the most notorious of the 2009 invasion of the Gaza Strip, and has Israeli soldiers ordering the extended family out of their home so they could use it as a military outpost. The soldiers ordered the family into a smaller building on the other side of the road.
Shortly after being forced to move, an Israeli drone flew overhead, and decided that the civilians inside were “armed Palestinians” and launched an air strike against the house. The first strike killed one person, and when the family tried to flee the house they were told to go back inside. A second missile destroyed the house.
The family was then trapped under the rubble. In all, 21 were killed and nearly 40 others wounded. The troops who occupied their actual house remained, and the military blocked ambulances from reaching the scene to tend to survivors for three days.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which pushed the probe in the first place, condemned its closure, saying it “is unacceptable that no one is found responsible for an action of the army that led to the killing of 21 uninvolved civilians, inside the building they were in under soldier’s orders, even if not deliberately.” The military said their probe “disproved” the claims that the killings were deliberate, and denied that bombing what they new was a houseload of civilians constituted “recklessness or criminal negligence.”