Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday said the Israeli artillery barrage that killed 18 civilians in the Gaza Strip was caused by a "technical error."
Olmert, speaking in English, expressed regret for the bloodshed and said he had personally looked into the cause of Wednesday's predawn artillery strike.
He added, however, that Israel will continue its military operations in Gaza as long as Palestinian rocket attacks persist. He said Israel will do "everything we can" to avoid similar mistakes, but warned that further tragedies are possible.
"It may happen," he said, reports AP.
Olmert said Wednesday's artillery strike was aimed at an orange grove used by rocket squads in northern Gaza to attack Israel. The artillery missed its target because of a "technical error," he said.