Germany has asked Israel for clarification on the deaths of seven members of a German-Palestinian family who died in an Israeli air strike in Gaza on Monday.
Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesperson Sawsan Chebli told a press conference Wednesday that it is in the country's "urgent interest that all facts are clarified."
He said that the ministry had talked with Israel's representatives, but declined to discuss content of the discussions.
"Everything should be done to avoid civilian casualties,” Chebli stressed.
The air strike in the north of Gaza killed German-Palestinian engineer Ibrahim al-Kilani, his wife Taghrid and five of their children aged between 4 and 12 years old.
Al-Kilani's relatives told local press that he had studied architecture and worked in Germany as an engineer during the 90’s, returning to Gaza in 2001.
The 53-year-old also had a daughter and son from a previous marriage to a German classmate.
Layla Kilani, his 21-year-old daughter, said she had only spoken to him on Sunday.
“My father had nothing to do with politics,” she told German daily Siegener Zeitung.
A classmate of her father told local press that he was a good-hearted man, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the religious extremism or political fanaticism that Israel has accused most Gaza Palestinians of.
Germany is believed to be home to around 200,000 Palestinians, many of them with relatives in Gaza. Spokesperson Chebli told media that although they do not have exact numbers, the country is trying to provide support for German citizens trying to leave.
He urged Israel to exercise restraint, but also criticized Hamas for using civilians as human shields.
“We call on Israel to exercise restraint and avoid more victims but on the other hand it should be made clear that Hamas is using people as human shields,” he said.
Since July 7, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with a fierce aerial bombardment that it says is aimed at halting rocket fire from militant groups.
At least 650 Palestinians have been killed – mostly civilians – and more than 4000 others injured in the ongoing offensive, now in its third week.
Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets at Israeli cities in response to the bombardments.
According to official Israeli figures, 31 Israelis, including 29 soldiers, have been killed in the recent hostilities.