On 22 July 2002, shortly before midnight, the Israeli occupying authority, using two F16 bombers, dropped a one ton bomb on a densely-populated neighbourhood in the Daraj area of Gaza City.
The officially-stated intended target of this bomb was Salah Shehadeh, aged 50, a senior military leader of Hamas and founder of its military wing, Izz-al Din al Qassam.
Shehadeh was indeed killed, but 15 others were killed with him, including his assistant, Zahir Salah Nasar.
145 people were injured and substantial damage to homes and property was sustained.
This attack, which took place in the 21st month of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, was unprecedented in its reckless disregard for civilian life, as was reflected in the international condemnation, including on the part the US authorities, which it unleashed.
The initially unapologetic statements issued by the Israeli authorities caused further consternation and were later tempered by statements of regret regarding the loss of civilian life which blamed the civilian casualties on faulty intelligence.
There was, finally, an official statement to the effect that this attack had been a mistake?.
The bombardment of al-Daraj, which brought to 1728 the total number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, was significant for the following reason: whilst American-supplied F16s had been used in the past, on only one occasion prior to 22 July, precisely eight days