Since last night, Tuesday 17 July 2014, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) escalated its military operation against Gaza, codenamed 'Operation Protective Edge', and started a round invasion into the Gaza Strip. Between 1PM yesterday and , IOF killed 33 Palestinians; including 12 children. IOF artillery shelling of the northern and eastern border areas of the Gaza Strip intensified last night, killing and injuring dozens of civilians and pushing thousands more people to evacuate their house. In at least one incident monitored by Al Mezan, a family were attacked as they were trying to evacuate their neighborhood. Al Mezan knew about at least eight people were arrested in the Bedouin village, Um An-Nasser, in the north of the Gaza Strip.
As the IOF continued targeting houses and other civilian structures; killing more children in direct hits, it also targeted more electricity installations in the Gaza Strip; especially in the eastern and western parts of Gaza City. Moreover, Israel cut four power lines that supply the North Gaza district since 10pm yesterday. The power cuts cause serious problems for people because water supply depends on it.
According to the field investigations by Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, as of , on , 266 Palestinians have been verified as killed by the IOF; including 56 children and 33 women. According to Al Mezan's initial investigations 200 (i.e. 75.2%) of the victims are civilians. Many others were people known to be affiliated by Palestinian factions, but not taking part in any hostilities. Al Mezan's initial investigations reveals that at least 103 people were killed inside their houses; including 33 children and 24 women. Another two disabled women were killed inside an NGO building. Another 29 people were killed in the vicinity of their houses; 3 of whom were allegedly combatants.
Moreover, at least 1,679 other people were injured during the same period; of whom at least 492 were children and 368 women. At least, 2,309 houses were destroyed or damaged during this period; of which 404 were destroyed completely as the IOF directly and deliberately attacked 358 of the total number of damaged houses. IOF attacks also damaged or destroyed 37 schools, 45 mosques, an ambulance centre, 16 NGO offices, 39 fishing boats and 4 hospitals. It should be noted that these figures represent the minimum, as verified by Al Mean, and they are expected to rise once full documentation of the damages to civilian structures is completed.
At approximately 5:30 pm on Thursday, 17 July 2014, Israeli warplanes fired one missile at a group of children from Shuheebar family while they were feeding poultry which their family keeps on the rooftop. The house is located in the Sabra neighborhood west of Gaza City. As a result, three children aged between 8 and 11, and injured two other children. The children who were killed are:
- Afnan Wesam Shuheebar, 8;
- Jehad Issam Shuheebar, 11; and
- Waseem Issam Shuheebar; 8.
Basil Shuheebar, 8; and Odai Shuheebar, 16, were also injured in the attack; with Basil in a critical condition at the hospital.
At approximately 6:15 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired one missile at an open area near the house of the Al Abadla family in the Al Qarara town. As a result, one fighter, Hamza Al Abadla, 29 was killed.
At approximately 6:25 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired one missile at the courtyard of the house of Khalil Hamada Al Jbour, which is located near the zoo in the Al Manara neighborhood west of Khan Younis city. As a result, one of two children who were playing there, Rahaf Khalil Al Jbour, 4, was killed and her brother, Hamada, 6, was injured moderately.
At approximately 7:50 pm in Thursday 17 July 2014, Israeli aircrafts targeted the house of Abdel Kareem Mohammed Abu Issa, 58, who is a handicapped man from a car accident. The ground-floor house is located in the Wadi Gaza village (Johr Ad-deek) and is about 250 square meters in area. It is roofed with asbestos. Three families (18 members) live in the house, which was completely destroyed in the attack. Issa's son, Hosam, 28, was killed inside the house, and his brother Hesham, 20, sustained critical injuries.
At approximately 8:00 pm on Thursday,17 July 2014, Israeli artillery fired tens of shells at the areas of east of Al Zeitoun and the Al Shaaf easter of Gaza City. The shells fell near houses and the building of the Al Wafaa Hospital, which building was severely damaged. The artillery shelling continued constantly until around 4:00 am on Friday, 18 July 2014.
At approximately 8:20 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, a shell was fired at the house of Yousif Ahmed Abu Mgheseeb, 40, in the Wadi As-Salqa village, about a kilometer from the borderline and destroyed part of the house’s asbestos roofing. Yousif’s mother, wife and two of his children were wounded from burns and from shrapnel. The injury of his son Mohammed, 3, was described as critical. His mother Hodaiba Abu Mgheseeb, 80, sustained an injury to her head, his wife Rajaa’ Abu Mgheseeb, to her head and his son, Ahmed, 4, sustained injuries to the head and the left eye. They are all hospitalized at the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah. The targeting of houses in Wadi Gaza village (Johr Ad-deek) pushed several families to flee to the nearby Al Bureij refugee camp.
At approximately 8:00 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, Israeli artillery fired dozens of shells at agricultural fields and neighborhoods in the west of the border fence east to Khan Younis city. Six people were injured.
At approximately on the same day, IOF artillery shells intensified. In the early morning hours on , the IOF artillery fire became sporadic. Al Mezan's field investigations indicated that at approximately 9:07 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, an artillery shell fell on the house of Abdel Nasser Dabour in the Al Zera'a area. As a result, his wife Amal Khader Dabour, 41, was killed. At approximately 10:40 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, two artillery shells fell on the house of Khader Obied (Al Kafarna) in the Al Amal neighborhood. As a result, 21 residents of the house were injured. Medical sources at Beit Hanoun Hospital described the injury of seven of them as critical.
At approximately 8:00 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, Israeli tanks fired tens of artillery shells at the 13 neighborhoods in the town of Beit Hanoun and in the North Gaza district.
At approximately 8:40 pm on Thursday, 17 July 2014, Israeli artillery fired one shell at a house that belongs to Ali Abdul Aal Entaiz, 70. The house is located in the east of the Al Shaaf area, east of Gaza City. As a result, two children: Mohammed Ibrahim Entaiz and Mohammed Salem Entaiz, and one young man; Abed Ali Entaiz, 24 were killed. Three others were also injured: Mahmoud Ibrahim Entaiz, 16, Hatem Ali Entaiz, 38, and Sanaa Omar Entaiz, 31, who is pregnant. Medical sources of Al Shiaa hospital describes Mahmoud's injures as critical.
At approximately 10:00 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired one missile at the house of Nedal Mohammed Nofal, 45, in the An-Nusairat refugee camp in Middle Gaza district. The house consists of two floors and is about 240 square meters in area. It was home to four families with 25 members. The house was damaged and four persons were injured, including one; Ra'ed Mahmoud Al Bseili, 21, who sustained critical injuries.
At approximately 11:30 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, the IOF fired tens of artillery shells and smoke bombs at residential neighborhoods east of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip.
At approximately 12:30 am on Friday 18 July 2014, a number of Israeli tanks moved into the eastern parts of the town of Al Qarrara, Abasan, Khuza'a and Bani Suhaila; all in the eastern parts of Khan Younis district. As a result, tens of people in the easter parts of these towns suffered suffocation due to the smoke bombs. Thousands of people evacuated their houses and sought refuge in UNRWA schools.
At approximately on the same day, IOF moved, under heavy covering artillery shelling, hundreds of meters into the Az-Zanna area in the east of Bani Suheila town, reaching the Abu 'Assi and Abdel Ghafour neighborhoods in the neighboring Al Qarara town.
At approximately 10:35 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, Israeli aircraft fired one missile at the University College for Applied Sciences, located west of Khan Younis city. As a result, one of the college's guards, Salah Al Shafe’i, 24, was killed and another guard was injured.
At approximately 12:05 am on Friday, 18 July 2014, Israeli artillery intensified its shelling near the Gaza International Airport, southeast Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip. The attack hit the Jbara family's house and killed Majdy Suliman Jbara, 22; and injured four other members of the family: Suliman Jbara, 31; Majed Jbara, 25; Rashid Jbara, 28, and Fatma Jbara, 23. The injured were all transferred to the Al Najjar hospital in the town with their injuries described as critical.
At approximately 00:50 am on Friday 18 July 2014, an Israeli artillery shell fell on the house of Mahmoud Nussier, which is located in the Al Boura area. As a result, two of his sons, Naseem, 32, and Karam, 31, were killed and his son Mohammed, 26, was injured moderately.
At approximately 12:20 am on Friday 18 July 2014, an Israeli infantry force moved, under heavy covering fire and air cover, into the vicinity of the Agricultural School north of Beit Hanoun town in the north of the Gaza Strip. Heavy fire continued for about three hours; after which tanks moved into the area. According to Al Mezan's field investigations, the IOF occupied a number of houses adjacent to the School and used them as military sites from which it opened fire at civilians.
At around 12:22 am on Friday, 18 July 2014, Israeli artillery fired several shells near the Gaza International Airport, southeast of Rafah. The area's residents fled the area in search for shelter in the south. An infant, Faris Jomaa Al Tarabeen, 3 months, was killed and 2 women; one of them is the infant's mother, and the other is Najema Awad Al Mahmoum, 28, were injured and transferred to the Al Najjar Hospital with 'moderate' injuries. These people were killed and injured as Israeli artillery fired at them while they were fleeing from their houses.
At approximately 1:05 am on Friday, 18 July 2014, Israeli artillery fired several shells near the Gaza International Airport, southeast of Rafah. The residents of the area fled it searching for a safer place in the south. Omar Eid Al Mahmoum, 17, was killed as a result of the attack.
At about 2:05 am on Friday, 18 July 2014, Israeli artillery shelled the area around the Gaza International Airport in the southeast of Rafah. Residents in the area were hit by the firing as they fled the area. One woman, Selmiyeh Ghayyad, 70, was killed, and another women, Shirin Arafat, 33, was moderately injured.
At approximately 2:10 am on Friday 18 July 2014, an Israeli drone fired one missile at a group of people in the Al Mawasi area west of Khan Younis city. As a result, three persons were injured.
At approximately 2:30 am on Friday 18 July 2014, an Israeli infantry force moved into the areas of As-Saiyafa, Al Waha, and Al Khusa, northwest of Beit Lahiya town and in the north of the Gaza Strip under heavy fire and air cover. The attack continued for about two hours and then tanks moved into these areas. IOF troops occupied houses and a school and opened fire from them during this incursion. At approximately on the same day, the IOF widened the incursion and entered in the Bedouin village; Um An Nasser, and broke into houses in it. The IOF arrested eight Palestinians.
At approximately on the same day, Israeli aircrafts launched a number of airstrikes at Abu Radwan neighborhood in Az-Zanna area and east of Bani Suhaila east of Khan Younis. As a result, four people were injured. Medical crews and ambulances were not able to reach the injured due to the IOF random attacks and smoke bombs. A number of paramedics were suffered breathing difficulties. At approximately on the same day, ambulances managed to reach the area but the injured people died from their wounds as they were bleeding. Al Mezan identified their names as follows:
- · Ahmed Fawzi Redwan, 23;
- · His brother Mahmoud, 24;
- · Belal Mahmoud Redwan, 23; and
- · Munzer Nabeel Redwan, 22.
At approximately 3:30 am on Friday 18 July 2014, Israeli aircrafts launched a series of airstrikes along with artillery shelling at the Az-Zanna area in Bani Suhaila town, east of Khan Younis. These attacks lasted until approximately, killed five people and injured about 30 others. Al Mezan identified the names of the people killed as follows:
- Hammad Abdel Kareem Abu Lehiya, 23;
- Mohammed Abdel Fattah Rashad Fayyad, 26;
- Mahmoud Mohammed Fayyad; 25;
- Hani As'ad Abdel Kareem Al Shami, 35; and
- Mohammed Hamdan Al Shami, 35.
At approximately , on Friday, 17 July, 2014, Israeli warplanes fired one missile at a house belonging to Mohamed Ahmed Zourob near the UNRWA health center in the north of Rafah. The attack occurred without prior warning and completely destroyed the 400-square-meter house. Mohammed's daughter, Seham, 11, was killed. Mohammed, his wife, Nora, 45, and nine of his family members were injured; including three children and his mother. Their injuries were described between 'moderate and critical'.
At around 4:10 am on Friday, 18 July 2014, Israeli artillery fired one missile at a house that belongs to Saqer Abu Taweela, 60. The house is located east of the Al Shejaiya area, east of Gaza City. The shelling killed one civilian, Rami Abu Taweela, 27 and injured Ali Abu Taweela, 29, Roshdi Abu Taweela, 35, and Madleen Abu Taweela, 10. Medical sources at Al Shifaa Hospital described Ali's injuries as critical.
At approximately 6:10 am on Friday, 18 July 2014, Israeli artillery fired several shells at a houses near the Dar Al Fadeela School, north of Rafah. The medical staff found the body of Basim Mohammed Madi, 22 torn to pieces as a result of the attack.
At approximately 11:45 am on Friday 18 July 2014, Israeli tanks attacked the Al Nada Towers area. One of the shells hit an apartment on the fourth floor in building number 21m which is owned by Ismail Abu Msallam. As a result, three children, two of his sons and his daughter were killed:
- Mohammed Abu Msallam, 15;
- Walaa Abu Msallam, 14; and
- Ahmed Abu Msallam, 11.
Another shell hit two other buildings (number 4 and 7), injuring four other people moderately. Another ten apartments were partially damaged.
Since the evening of , the IOF severely shelled ten neighborhoods in the vicinity of the town of Beit Lahiya in the North Gaza district. Most of the residents of these areas were forced to evacuate their homes under heavy artillery fire and sought refuge at UNRWA schools. UNRWA opened four new schools as shelters, raising the number of UNRWA schools used as shelters to 9 in North Gaza district. According to Al Mezan's field investigations, about 14,000 people have been hosted in these schools until the morning hours of .
At approximately on the same day, an Israeli artillery shell hit the third floor of the administration building of the Beit Hanoun Hospital. As a result, the building was damaged, but no casualties or injuries were reported.
At approximately 8:20 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, the border areas in the Middle Gaza district witnessed heavy shelling by IOF artillery. Many artillery shells were fired at houses. At approximately , IOF gunboats opened artillery fire at the coastal areas of the district. The shelling continued until morning. As a result of the shelling, fires started several houses and injured some of their residents.
At approximately 6:30 pm on Thursday 17 July 2014, Israeli aircrafts bombarded the Customs Office building in Khan Younis city, damaging it and injuring one person.
At approximately 10:20 pm on Thursday 17July 2014, Israeli aircraft fired one missile at the house of Khaled Rafeeq As-Senwar, in the Al Qarara town in northwest of Khan Younis district. The house was damaged but no injuries were reported.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights reiterates its strong condemnation the IOF's escalation of its attacks on Gaza, during which serious violations of international law were committed, particularly disproportionate attacks that fail to distinguish between civilian and military targets. Al Mezan strongly condemns the attacks on fleeing civilians. All deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian object are serious violations of international law that amount to war crimes. The use of missiles as means of warning and not giving time for civilians to leave do not exempt the IOF of the responsibility for the high number of civilian casualties and damages to civilian structures; including police stations.
Al Mezan highlights that it has been civilians bearing the brunt of IOF's unlawful attacks. Therefore, Al Mezan calls on international community to act to stop such attacks without any further delay. International community must intervene to ensure that the attacks on houses, mosques, hospitals, police stations and NGO, are investigated and prosecuted as per the standards provided by international law. Al Mezan also urges international community; especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to act swiftly and resolutely to provide effective protection for the civilian population under Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip.