TV: Shrapnel from deadly Gaza beach blast was Israel (Palestine)
Israel's Channel 10 reports shrapnel came from 155-millimeter shell used by Israeli army artillery gunners.
JERUSALEM - Shrapnel from an Israeli artillery shell was extracted from a young Palestinian wounded in a deadly Gaza beachfront explosion earlier this month, an Israeli television report said Monday.
The privately-owned Channel 10 report cited medical sources whose findings contradicted Israel's official version of events that the explosion which killed eight Palestinian civilians was not caused by Israeli artillery.
The shrapnel was removed from a 12-year-old boy who was wounded on the beach on June 9 and then transported to a hospital in southern Israel for medical treatment, it said.
The sources told the channel the shrapnel came from a 155-millimeter shell used by Israeli army artillery gunners, a tactic it uses in a bid to halt rocket fire toward southern Israel by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli army spokesman told Channel 10 that military officials did not yet have at their disposal an analysis of the shrapnel removed from the young Palestinian.
The channel also said Defense Minister Amir Peretz did not exclude Sunday the possibility that the explosion could have been caused by an "Israeli shell" which "had been on the beach for a long time," such as unexploded ordnance.
Israeli media have also raised the possibility that a Palestinian landmine was placed on the beach in case of an Israeli landing from the sea.
An Israeli army inquiry has cleared the military of any wrongdoing, while Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday rejected calls for an international inquiry into the blast.
"We will never agree to become subject to an investigation by international bodies," Olmert told ministers during a weekly cabinet meeting.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz also said Sunday: "It may turn out that the blast was caused by old IDF (Israel Defence Forces) explosives on the beach. Things are still being examined."
A 10-year-old girl, Huda Ghalya, lost her entire family in the explosion. Her parents and three siblings were killed while picnicking on the beachfront.
A military expert with the New York-based Human Rights Watch has said its own investigation calls into question the Israeli version of events and said that the most likely scenario was a strike by Israeli artillery.
Von: 20.6.2006 www.middle-east-online.com