Israel has dismissed continuing calls for an independent international inquiry into the beachfront explosion which killed seven members of a Palestinian family in Gaza last Friday after its own internal military investigation decided it was not responsible for the blast.
But the official interpretation was strongly challenged by a former Pentagon battle damage expert who has surveyed the scene of the beach explosion. He said yesterday that "all the evidence points" to a 155mm Israeli land-based artillery shell as its cause.
Marc Garlasco, who worked in war zones including Iraq and Kosovo during his seven-year stint in the US Department of Defence, called for an independent investigation into the killings after concluding that shell fragments and shrapnel from the site, the size and distribution of the craters on the beach, and the type of injuries sustained by the victims made Israeli shelling easily the likeliest cause.
His assessment came as at least another seven civilians, including two children, as well as two Islamic Jihad militants, were killed in a double Israeli missile strike on a VW van in the densely populated Zeitoun district of Gaza City yesterday. The two children were hit at a nearby house by flying shrapnel and the civilian dead included three medical workers from a nearby children's hospital who rushed to help after hearing the first explosion.