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Uncertainty shrouds Gaza beach tragedy

While in no way diminishing the tragedy of innocent life lost in last Friday's tragic explosion on a beach in Gaza ("Nation embraces little 'orphan' Huda", The Age, 13/6), there is no evidence or independent verification of the contradictory claims made by the Palestinian Authority that it was an Israeli shell that caused the deaths.

According to reports in the Israeli press yesterday, the probe investigating the incident has concluded that "chances were slim" that the accident was caused by Israeli Defence Force shelling. The findings showed an inconsistency between the shrapnel found in the body of one of the wounded babies and the metal used in Israeli artillery, and noted the absence of a large enough crater at the site of the explosion, as would be expected if an Israeli shell had landed there.

Israel has been the subject of many a false accusation in recent years of which the non-existent "massacre in Jenin" is the stand-out example. One wonders whether the Gaza bombing will be revealed as another example of a highly sophisticated attempt at manipulation of world opinion.

Sam Tatarka, East St Kilda

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