International Community Must Intervene to Protect Civilians in the Gaza Strip
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) has intensified its military attacks on the Gaza Strip on the fourth day of Israel's military operation, codenamed Operation Protective Edge. This press release covers the period since the start of the operation at at 3:40pm on 7 July 2014. Since yesterday evening, the IOF deliberately targeted houses and other civilian objects; often with civilians present in them, and bombarded a gathering of civilians on Khan Younis beach as they were watching the World Cup match last night. Al Mezan strongly condemns IOF's attacks on civilians. In another disturbing development, the IOF also targeted an emergency medical building, wounding four of the crew and damaging the building and three ambulances, and a media car that was clearly marked, killing its driver. Such attacks are unlawful and cannot be justified. Al Mezan calls on international community to act urgently to prevent these attacks and stop the aggression on the Gaza Strip.
As of 1pm today, , the number of Palestinian casualties claimed by IOF attacks in Operation Protective Edge on the Gaza Strip, which commenced at 3:40pm on 7 July 2014 has risen to 76; including 20 children and 10 women. Another 400 people were injured during the same period; of whom 123 were children and 86 women. At least 334 houses were destroyed or damaged; of which 89 were destroyed completely as the IOF directly and deliberately attacked 83 of them.
At approximately 1:20 am on Thursday 10 July 2014, Israeli aircrafts fired one missile at the house of Mahmoud Al Hai, 57, which is located in Block "J" in Khan Younis refugee camp. The house consists of one floor and is about 100 square meters in area. As a result, the house was totally destroyed while its residents were inside. Eight people were killed, including two children, as a result. Six bodies were recovered from under the rubble of the house and admitted to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis city. Later, bodies of the father and a child were also found. Al Mezan has identified their names of the victims as follows:
- Mahmoud Al Haj, 57;
- Basma Al Haj, 48; (his wife); and their sons and daughters:
- Omar Al Haj, 20;
- Sa'ad Al Haj, 17;
- Tareq Al Haj, 18;
- Asmaa Al Haj; 22;
- Najlaa' Al Haj, 29; and
- Fatma Al Haj, 12.
Several adjacent houses sustained severe damages in this attack and 23 people were injured due to the scattering rubble.
At approximately 8:24 pm on Wednesday 9 July 2014 an Israeli aircraft fired one missile at an open field in the As-Salam neighborhood in the south of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. The field is adjacent to the house of the Al 'Arja family. As a result, an elderly woman, Saleema Al 'Arja, 60, and a girl, Maryam Al Arja, 9, were killed. Ten other people from the Al 'Arja family were injured while they were inside their house breaking their Ramadan fasting; f whom six were children. They were admitted to the An-Najjar hospital. Medical sources described their injuries as moderate.
At approximately 11:30am on Wednesday 9 July 2014, IOF aircraft fired two missiles at the house of Mustafa Malaka, 30, which is located in the Az-Zeitoun neighborhood in the east of Gaza city. The house was attacked without prior warning and destroyed the house completely. Malaka's wife, Hanaa' Malaka, 28, and her infant Mohammed, 2, were killed in the attack and were found under the rubble of the house. The house owner, an uninvolved civilian, was critically injured, and his two children, Khalid, 5, and Safaa', 6 sustained moderate injuries.
The another IOF attack, at approximately on the same day, Israeli aircraft attacked an agricultural field near the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) emergency center in Jabaliya in the north Gaza district. As a result, the director of the emergency center, Yousif Hammed, and paramedics Ramadan Hosou, Merwan Hamouda, and Iyad Basyouni sustained moderate injuries. They were referred to the Al Quds hospital. The emergency center's building also sustained severe physical damages and three ambulances were also damaged.
At approximately 8:55pm on Wednesday 9 July 2014, IOF aircraft bombarded a house in the Zimmo Street in the town of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip. The family was in the house when the attack was launched. The house owner, Hany Hamad, 60, and his son Ibrahim, 19, were killed in the attack as they were sitting under a shade in the house. Their house was attacked without prior warning.
In a serious escalation that reminds of direct attacks against the media, at approximately , also , IOF aircraft attacked a civilian car that was clearly marked as a media car as it was driving in Gaza city's Omar El-Mukhtar Street. The attacked killed the car's driver, Hamed Shehab, 33, who works as a driver for the Media 24 News agency. Three other civilians were injured; including a child and an elderly man.
At approximately 11:15 pm on 9 July 2014, Israeli aircraft bombarded a resort on the Khan Younis beach. Dozens of young people were there to watch the World Cup football match. As a result, the resort was destroyed, nine people were killed and three people were injured moderately or critically.
Al Mezan identified the names of the people killed as follows:
· Ibraheem Qannan, 24;
· Mohammed Qannan, 26;
· Suliman Al Asttal, 17;
· His brother, Ahmed Al Astal, 18;
· Mousa Al Astal, 15;
· Mohammed Ferwana, 18;
· Hamdi Sawali, 20;
· Ibrahim Sawali, 28; and
· Saleem Sawali, 23.
Al Mezan did not find any proof that this location was used for military purposes, as no arms were found in or near it, and witnesses stressed that the area was not used to launch any armed attacks.
According to Al Mezan's field investigations, several further IOF attacks deliberately targeted houses while their residents were inside them. At approximately 2:55 pm on Wednesday 9 July 2014, Israeli aircraft attacked the house of 'Awad An-Nawasra, 50, while its residents were inside. The house was attacked without a prior warning. The two-story house is about 170 square meters in area and is located in Al Waz (Geese) Pool area east to As-Sekka area in the middle-Gaza refugee camp of Al Maghazi. As a result, the house was totally destroyed and four people were killed; including two children, and two other people were injured. Al Mezan has identified the names of people killed as follows:
· Salah An-Nawasra, 24;
· 'Aesha An-Nawasra, 22;
· Nedal An-Nawasra, 4; and
· Mohammed An-Nawasra, 2.
According to information available to Al Mezan, the attack split the body of the infant Mohammed into two parts that were found separately by the civil defense teams.
The injured people in this attack are: Khalaf An-Nawasra, 28, and an elderly lady from a neighboring house. Several adjacent houses were damaged in the attack.
At approximately 12:15pm on Wednesday 9 July 2014, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at two children as they were walking on the An-Nazzaz Street in the Ash-Shejaeya neighborhood in the east of Gaza city. The two children were killed on the spot. They were identified as Ameer Areef, 12, and his brother Mohammed Areef, 10. They were walking to a local grocery to buy things for themselves when they were attacked.
At approximately on the same day, an Israeli aircraft fired one missile targeting a group of Palestinian people who were near their home, located in the Al Qaraman Street in the town of Beit Hanoun north of the Gaza Strip. As a result, Sahar Al Masri, 35, and her son Mohammed Al Masri, 16, were killed. According to Al Mezan's field investigations, Sahar was visiting her relatives when the IOF attack her. At the same time, IOF also attacked an adjacent house that belongs to her brother, Zaher Hamdan, which is close to the place where she was attacked. At approximately on the same day, an Israeli drone fired one missile in the vicinity of the attacked place.
At approximately 12:15pm on Thursday 10 July 2014, IOF aircraft targeted a car as it was driving near the Jabalia municipality; killing three men. Their names have not been verified by the time this release was published.
Moreover, the IOF circulated a recorded message on all phones in the North Gaza District warning people to evacuate their houses or be subject to potential attacks by the Israeli army. Tens of thousands are expected to flee their houses.
Al Mezan strongly condemns these unlawful, deliberate attacks against civilians and civilian property in the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan reiterates that armed attacks that are deliberately directed at civilians contravene the basic principles of distinction or proportionality and represent war crimes that must be investigated and prosecuted. Despite our warnings from such escalation, such acts of killing of civilians; including children, continue to be committed under disgraceful silence of international community which has failed thus far to act to stop attacks on civilians or protecting them.
As IOF serious violations of international law continue, more attacks that fail to observe international law are expected to occur in the Gaza Strip, which demands that international community; especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, act swiftly and resolutely to provide the due protection for the civilian population that are being victimized by these violations.
Reiterating the strongest condemnation of IOF attacks directed to children, women, and the elderly, Al Mezan calls for an end to the culture of impunity that has encouraged grave breaches of international humanitarian law during the past years. Civilians will continue to pay a high price if international community does not break this culture.
Press Release Link:
------------------------------ ------------------------------ ------------------------------ -------
For more information, please contact at Al Mezan Center for Human Rights office in Gaza City
on: +970 8 2820442/7 between ( ) Sundays through .