The Israeli army admitted on Wednesday that troops killed the three daughters of a Palestinian doctor during the Gaza war, mistaking them for spotters directing Hamas fire.
A probe of the January 16 incident "found that two shells were fired from an IDF (army) tank resulting in the deaths of Dr (Ezzedine Abu) al-Eish’s three daughters," the military said in a statement.
It said a unit of the Golani Infantry Brigade came under sniper and mortar fire in an area filled with improvised explosive devices.
"The force identified and located the source of fire from a house adjacent to that of the doctor’s, and in response opened fire," the military said.
The troops also fired at "suspicious figures" on the upper level of Abu al-Eish’s house they thought were "spotters who directed the Hamas sniper and mortar fire."
"It is from this fire, that the three daughters of Dr Abu al-Eish were killed," the statement said.
"Following the opening of fire, screams were heard from the direction of the house and immediately the IDF force ceased all fire. Only later was it understood that this was in fact the house of Dr Abu al-Eish.
"When contact was made with the doctor, the IDF force operated in order to allow for ambulances to evacuate the injured via the Erez crossing for immediate emergency medical treatment in Israel."
The military said it had repeatedly contacted the doctor before the incident, urging him to evacuate his home "because of Hamas operations and the intense fighting that was already taking place in that area for several days."