GAZA, June 13 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch called on Israel Tuesday for an independent investigation of the June 9 killings of seven Palestinians relaxing on a beach.
The dead included two adults, two teenagers and three very young children, the group said.
The rights watchdog said its researchers have visited the site to examine the crater caused by an artillery strike and have interviewed the wounded and other witnesses.
The group said witnesses told of between five and six explosions, and two survivors said they saw a blur and heard the sound of an incoming round.
At the time, Israel was responding to rocket attacks from Palestinian territory. Israeli officials have apologized for the incident and promised an investigation.
"There has been much speculation about the cause of the beach killings, but the evidence we have gathered strongly suggests Israeli artillery fire was to blame," Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and Africa division at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "It is crucial that an independent investigative team, with the necessary expertise, verify the facts in a transparent manner."
Human Rights Watch said it is also investigating the rocket attacks on Israel.