Who killed a group of civilians fleeing to the south of Gaza?

A video made the rounds on social media on Thursday showing several dead Palestinians lying in the road, belongings strewn where they fell. A man, on a bicycle, rides through the chaotic scene shouting “God, a child. God, women. God, the girl. Please God protect our people. Please look.”

The video is the latest in a series of videos from Gaza that show what pro-Palestine voices described as “Israeli war crimes.” Pro-Israel voices have claimed conversely that the video shows evidence of a Hamas massacre of civilians fleeing south.

The video claims to show the Al Rashid Coastal Road which is the only major road on the coast to run from the border with Egypt until reaching the Gaza marina. In the video, the man on the bike is indeed cycling north along the road, this can be confirmed when the man turns his head to the left and we see the coastal sand dunes. 

Reuters, and multiple other sources, confirmed that the location was the Al Rashid Coastal Road specifically the section between Wadi Gaza and Gaza City. Reuters was unable to confirm anything else about the video, such as the identity of the person filming, those seen in the video, or what killed them.

It seems unlikely that the man was referring to the same event as in the video for a few reasons. First, there doesn’t appear to be a dead donkey in the video. Second, the people in the video do not have anything that could be described as a cart, making it unlikely what the man was describing is the same event. 

An Israeli airstrike?

In the immediate few hours after the release of the video, several Arab sources claimed that the civilians had been killed by an Israeli airstrike. Jordan News claimed that “Israeli strike claims 14 lives on Gaza’s coastal road,” which was then echoed by social media users. This is extremely unlikely because there is no crater in the video whatsoever, and neither do the bodies seem impacted by the force of an explosion.

From what we see of the bodies and debris, the people killed were heading south. This can be understood from the skid marks on the road.

Near the beginning of the video, we see the bloody body of a child with a pool of blood near its head. Behind the child along the road, is a bloody skid mark running from the child’s body heading north. The skid mark ends near where more bodies are seen, meaning the child’s body was thrown at great speed along the road. A second body can be seen slightly further from the child’s body with similar skid marks behind it leading to the same location.

This leads us to the conclusion that whoever killed these people killed the others first which then launched the two bodies down the road causing the skid marks. This combined with the destroyed vehicle seen at the very beginning is clear evidence that someone shot at civilians fleeing to the south. 

This photograph taken with a drone shows Palestinian houses and buildings at the Beach refugee camp in Gaza City on April 7, 2021. (credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS)

There are unconfirmed claims on social media that they were carrying white flags, by IDF specifications for those wishing to flee.

Amjad Taha, an Arab journalist, claims that targeting civilians waving white flags was a common tactic for Hezbollah and Palestinian terror groups in Syria, and concludes that it is likely that they were targeted by Hamas snipers for attempting to flee.

“Hamas terrorists in Gaza will, as usual, blame #Israel because it is easy and there is media that accepts this propaganda,” he said.

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Author: | Website:www.jpost.com

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