IDF Investigation Refutes 2014 Newsweek Cover Story, Finds Palestinian Family Members Likely Killed by Mortars Fired by Gaza Terrorists


By BB Portnoy

The tragic story of what happened to the Siyam family in Gaza during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge two years ago has turned out to be far different from what Newsweek reported several months after the war ended.

In a December 2014 Newsweek European edition cover story titled, “Gaza: One War, One Family. Five Children, Four Dead,” Sarah Helm wrote that 12 members of Nabil Siyam’s family – including his wife and four of his five children — were killed on July 21 of that year as they fled their home in Rafah after “Israeli rockets” hit the home next door.

“We got 10 meters away when I heard a drone,” Nabil Siyam was quoted as saying. “I heard the sound of the bomb — it is a special sound — and looked up. The Israelis must have seen us. Drones see everything. The next thing I knew was a cloud of dust and I looked around for my children.”

However, the results of an investigation by the IDF Military Advocate General (MAG) that were published this week refute the story told by Newsweek.

The MAG report said, “The factual findings and the material… presented to the MAG indicate that no attack — aerial or otherwise — that could have resulted in a strike on the family as alleged was carried out by IDF forces in the area in question and on the relevant date.”

Furthermore, the report said, “it was found that at the relevant time, and in close proximity to the Siyam family’s residence, terror organizations in the Gaza Strip fired a series of mortars, aimed at the territory of the State of Israel. A number of these launches were ‘failed launches,’ wherein the mortar shells that were aimed at Israeli territory, fell within the territory of the Gaza Strip.”

Thus, the report stated that “contrary to the allegations, it could be concluded, with reasonable certainty, that the members of the Siyam family were not harmed as a result of IDF activity.” Based on this finding, the MAG ordered the case to be closed.

As reported in The Algemeiner at the time, many rockets and mortars fired by terrorists groups in Gaza toward Israel during the war in the summer of 2014 fell short and exploded inside the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.

Just this week, a rocket fired from Gaza toward Israel fell short, the popular Elder of Ziyon blog reported, citing Palestinian news outlets.

The Algemeiner submitted a request for comment from Newsweek. No response was received as of publication time.

(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal