Thomas Wictor

The four Palestinian boys killed on the beach

The four Palestinian boys killed on the beach

On July 16, 2014, four Palestinian boys were killed on the beach at the port of Gaza City. They were Mohammed Bakr (aged 9), Ahed Bakr (aged 10), Zakaria Bakr (aged 10), and Mohammed Bakr (aged 11). The four boys were killed close to the Al-Deira Hotel, which was full of journalists, yet not one of these geniuses have been able to tell us what actually took place.

The Guardian says that it was both an artillery strike and an air strike.

The Telegraph says it was a naval bombardment.

Haaretz says it may have been an air strike.

The New York Times says it was an Israeli “gunboat” that shelled the beach.

The Wire says it was an Israeli missile strike.

Most of the world’s media has settled on the story that it was an Israeli “gunboat” that killed the four boys. I disagree.

New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks exemplifies the caliber of people reporting on wars these days.


An ordinance is a law or regulation decreed by a government or a deity. The boys were not killed by an Israeli decree. What Hicks meant to say was “ordnance,” which means munitions. Here’s a video of the incident. It doesn’t show anything terribly gruesome.

That’s not the sound of an air strike with an aerial bomb. This is. If it were an aerial bomb, you’d be able to hear the jet and then the oncoming rush of the munition.

It also doesn’t sound like an artillery or mortar strike. If so, you’d hear the rushing sound but also the report of the weapon firing the round.

Artillery and mortars are “indirect fire systems.” You don’t see your target. Instead, you figure out where it is and lob a round onto it. The round comes down in a curving arc.

Whatever caused the explosions, it wasn’t aerial bombs and it wasn’t artillery or mortars. It also doesn’t seem to have been missiles, because the steel container where the children tried to hide looks squashed.


The Israelis use mostly AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on their drones, jet fighters, and helicopter gunships. The Hellfire has a twenty-pound, high-explosive warhead that would pepper that container with holes. As you can see, there are no holes.

The four children were killed in a second explosion.


Here’s a closer view.

That’s a large munition. There are photos of the dead children; the legs of one are broken and twisted up around his head. Another lost an arm and all his clothes. A third lost his clothes and most of one leg.

So, what about the “gunboat” theory? First of all, there’s no such thing as an Israeli gunboat. The surface fleet of the Israeli navy has only corvettes, missile boats, patrol boats, and commando boats. The only surface vessel armed with a cannon capable of shelling ground targets is the Sa’ar 4.5-class missile boat. You can see the turret with the 76 mm cannon mounted on the stern in this photo.


The gun is the Italian OTO Melara, a rapid-fire cannon that is almost always used for direct fire, meaning the gunner can see the target and aims at it.

When the Israeli navy fires shells at ground targets, they have aerial or land-based spotters nearby, in radio contact with the ship, to make sure that the right things are hit. This video contains footage of an Israeli Sa’ar missile boat shelling ground targets in Gaza.

The 76 mm round of the OTO Melara cannon is relatively small. For this reason salvos—not single shots—are generally fired. In the video above it looks like the shells are coming down at a steep angle, but that’s an optical illusion. The missile boat is very close to shore, engaging in direct fire.

High-explosive rounds from an an Israeli Sa’ar missile boat would tear everyone to pieces. The bodies of the four dead children are not covered with massive wounds. Most importantly, you don’t hear the report of the cannon after the explosions. A naval vessel didn’t kill the children.

There are photos of others who were said to have been injured in this incident, even though the hotel full of “journalists” initially spoke only of four children. This adult man was allegedly wounded by whatever caused the explosions.


I see no blood and no injuries. The same goes for this person.


Why did they run him up off the beach? The ambulances and paramedics were at the scene.

Four children were killed. There’s no doubt. But how were they killed? The articles I linked above are worthless and contradictory. After much searching, I found the full IDF statement about the incident.

The IDF has no intention of harming civilians dragged by Hamas into the reality of urban combat. We are carefully investigating the incident in question. Based on preliminary results, the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives. The reported civilian causalities from this strike are a tragic outcome. Hamas’ cynical exploitation of a population held hostage has caused the IDF to cancel strikes on terrorist targets on multiple occasions this operation.

It’s boilerplate. Of course they’d say that the target was Hamas terrorists. Would they say, “We were deliberately trying to kill four little boys on the beach?”

This is an old photo of the place where the boys were killed. The red arrow marks the location of the first explosion, and the green arrow my best guess on the second.


Here’s a shot of the burning steel container. You can see the quay behind it.


The boys were killed within yards of a hotel where journalists were staying. The Israelis have not yet finished their investigation. Video evidence indicates that it was not artillery, mortars, or aerial bombs. The wounds on the dead boys seem inconsistent with the use of an air-to-ground missile fired from a drone, fighter jet, or helicopter gunship. The only Israeli naval vessel capable of shelling the beach would’ve come in close enough for all those journalists to film it, and the firing of the cannon would’ve been audible on the video.

There’s not one photo of a missile boat in the vicinity at the time. Nor can you hear aircraft.


But what kind of weapon did they use? How come your “IDF sources” didn’t tell you?

Could Hamas have killed the boys with using remotely detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) hidden in the container and buried in the sand, where they knew the boys would run? Why are there no photos of the “impact” crater?

An IED would explain why there’s no shrapnel damage to the shipping container, why one child had his legs blown upward, and why two lost their clothes. Reporters said those boys played in the same place every day. They were sitting ducks.

The shape of the smoke cloud from the second Gaza beach explosion matches those of IEDs used in Afghanistan: wide at the bottom, with a mushroom-shaped column heading upward.


I believe that Hamas could’ve killed these children in front of the world media as an exercise in propaganda, and the media—preconditioned like Pavlov’s dogs—ran with a story without bothering to do elementary fact checking.

Hamas reveres death. To clarify: It reverse the deaths of its subjugated people.

For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahedin and the children.

—Hamas MP Fathi Hammad
Al Aqsa TV
February 29, 2024

You don’t see Hamas billionaires like Khaled Mashal risking his neck. He’s safely in Qatar, working out in his private luxury gym.

This is what people send me in response to my posts.

In fact, this particular message was what inspired me to look into the deaths of Mohammed Bakr, Ahed Bakr, Zakaria Bakr, and Mohammed Bakr. Thanks, Jimmy, for lighting a fire under me.

Isn’t it funny that all those caring, outraged journalists made no effort whatsoever to discover what really happened?


A reader points me to this piece: “Israel Spokesman Admits Army ‘Should Have Spared Boys Playing Soccer on Gaza Beach.”

No, they weren’t playing soccer; they were playing “Arabs and Jews,” a game in which they capture the “Jew” and put him in jail.

What the spokesman says makes no sense to me.

“The IDF had a target, a Hamas terrorist target,” Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told ABC, an Australian TV news outlet. “We had intelligence pointing specifically to that location and we had the indication that the perpetrators were on the beach.”

“We had visual surveillance, clearly, to an extent that we should have been able to determine who was on the beach,” he added.

I don’t know what that means. They had intelligence and visual surveillance? You can see even from low-resolution photos that they’re kids.


This article is even weirder.

The four boys from the one extended family - Zacaria, Aahed Bakr Jr, Mohammed and Ismail - were killed by a rocket strike while they played.

The Israeli Defense Forces don’t use rockets. But the longer quote from Lerner at least explains the why the boys were killed.

“The IDF had a target, a Hamas terrorist target,” Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

“We had intelligence pointing specifically to that location and we had the indication that the perpetrators were on the beach. We had a specific target indicating that they were supposed to be there.

“We had visual surveillance, clearly, to an extent that we should have been able to determine who was on the beach.”

Lt Col Lerner did not provide detail about how long the boys were being observed or by what method.

“We need to determine what happened between the gathering of the intelligence and what happened that caused this unfortunate human tragedy,” he said.

I’m still confused, but hopefully more detail will be forthcoming. So far not a single story has been accurate: bombs, air strikes, naval bombardment, missiles. Since they don’t quote Lerner as saying a rocket was used, that’s the reporter Matt Brown’s word.


I give up.

“Four Palestinian children killed on beach by Israeli rockets.”

Although it was initially thought that the mortars came from a gunboat, senior IDF officials have told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that the shells came from Israeli planes, hunting down Hamas militants.

In one article they call the munitions used in the attack rockets, mortars, and shells. And we’re back to gunboats. Again, I’ll just have to wait until someone with some actual knowledge writes about it.

Though I was wrong about Hamas killing the children, I knew it wasn’t the Israeli navy. And yet reporters are still blathering about gunboats ten days later. The newest “information” is that aircraft fired the rocket-shell-mortars.

If so, it may have been the Delilah, since it has a loitering capability and a small warhead designed to minimize collateral damage.

That would explain why no aircraft was heard overhead. But these pieces I added as updates talk about “army aircraft” and refer to aircrew as “troops.”

Ordinance, ordnance, whatever.

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