Massacre film puts Israel in dock

UN soldier's video reveals reconnaisance plane was over Qana as shelling killed 100 refugees

A dramatic amateur videotape of the Israeli shelling of the United Nations base at Qana last month, in which more than 100 Lebanese civilians were massacred, has convinced United Nations investigators that the Israelis deliberately targeted the UN compound and were well aware that it was packed with refugees when they fired at it.

The colour videotape, a copy of which has been obtained by the Independent, clearly shows an Israeli pilotless reconnaisance aircraft - used by artillery spotters to perfect their aim - flying over Qana at the height of the shelling on 18 April. Senior Israeli officers have repeatedly denied to the UN that they were using a low-flying drone at the time, but the tape provides incontrovertible evidence that these statements were untrue.

In Israel last night, the Israeli army - having been told that the video exists - suddenly changed its story and admitted there was a drone over Qana but said - without explanation - that the pilotless aircraft was "on a different mission" and was not sending pictures. The Israelis also said that they made a "cartographic error" and had placed the UN camp 150 yards from its actual position. It also said that when a drone took pictures of the camp two days before the massacre - on 16 April - they saw "no sign of civilians".

A UN source in southern Lebanon last night ridiculed the Israeli statement. "The UN camp has been in Qana for 18 years. They have pictures of every village in southern Lebanon and know who lives in every house there. Once again, the Israelis are insulting our intelligence. They had been flying drones over Qana for a week before the massacre. And even if they thought there were no civilians in the camp - which we had told them there were - does that mean they thought it was legitimate to shell a UN military headquarters?"

For two weeks, the UN source said, the Israelis had been flying drones over Qana. "Now they are saying there was a drone on 'a different mission'. They have a duty to explain what that mission was - otherwise we are standing by the evidence of the eyewitnesses and the videotape showing the drone over Qana."

The videotape which forced the Israelis to change their story was unequivocal. In two sequences, the propellor-driven monoplane, which takes television pictures of the ground, can be seen flying low over Qana as shells fall on to the UN's Fijian battalion headquarters. The tape was made by a UN soldier a mile from Qana. By chance, he was carrying his video camera when the Israeli bombardment began. His remarkable filmed evidence - of which the Israelis were unaware at the time - now forms the focus of the still secret UN report prepared for Boutros Boutros Ghali, the UN Secretary- General, by Dutch marine General Frank van Kappen who visited the site of the massacre and completed his interviews with both UN and Israeli soldiers on 26 April.

Much of the UN report was written by a serving British Army officer, Colonel Geoffrey Dodds, who accompanied General van Kappen to Lebanon, and who - like the general - concluded that the Israeli explanations of the shelling were untrue. Colonel Dodds, a Royal Engineer, works in the general's office in New York.

UNIFIL officers in Lebanon and diplomats of the UN troop- contributing countries - they include Norway, Ireland, France, Poland, Fiji, Ghana and Nepal - fear Mr Boutros Ghali will water down the still-secret report or suppress it in his desire to seek re-election as UN secretary general.

The US government refused to condemn the massacre and accepts Israel's claims that its American-made howitzers fired "in error" on the refugees under UN protection at Qana while trying to target the source of nearby Hizbollah rockets.

General van Kappen's report acknowledges that the Hizbollah men who fired two rockets from near the UN base later ran unarmed into the compound but states that the Israeli shelling represented not an error but a deliberate change of trajectory which aimed the Israeli shells at the refugee-packed compound. UN investigators did not find a single Israeli shell impact at the site in a cemetery south-west of the compound from where the rockets were fired.

Leading article page 14

Letters, page 14

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice