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Al Mezan Press Release - IOF Continues Targeting Civilians in Gaza Print
Monday, 19 January 2009

Al Mezan Press Release – January 12, 2009:

IOF Continues Targeting Civilians in Gaza; Death Toll Rises to 876 and More Civilian Premises Destroyed

    The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has escalated its war on the Gaza Strip for the 17th consecutive day, during which it has acted in violation of the rules of international law relevant to conflict and belligerent occupation, motivated by the failure of the international community to stand for the principles and rules itself had set. There is evidence indicating the perpetration of grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War.


IOF's attacks on civilian targets, public infrastructure, and border areas have brought about enormous destruction of private property and infrastructure, as well as unprecedented loss of life. According to Al Mezan's careful monitoring, the IOF has killed at least 876 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since the start of its Operation Cast Lead on 27 December 2009. This number includes at least 186 children and 61 women. This number is restricted to those whom Al Mezan has verified and double-checked. The Center estimates that between 200 and 240 children have been killed. Many of those have still been under the rubble of houses under areas under IOF's invasion. Moreover, tens of children who were killed on the first day of the attacks have not yet been verified; therefore, the Center prefers to wait until they are accounted for properly. Six of those who were killed by IOF were ambulance crewmen, who were killed while trying to reach victims of IOF's attacks. The number also includes 3 journalists and dozens of elderly people. Al Mezan estimates that at least 85% of the casualties were civilian non-combatants.


Moreover, at least 3080 people have been injured and/or maimed during the same period. This number includes at least 634 children and 395 women. During the IOF's military operations, it directly targeted 172 houses with guided missiles and shells. However, the number of houses that have been completely destroyed in these attacks is at least 472. Another 3000 to 4000 houses have been partially destroyed. The IOF also destroyed 38 mosques; 13 of which were directly and wantonly targeted. 39 schools were damaged, of which 5 (and one university) were directly targeted. IOF attacks also destroyed 42 public civilian facilities; including CBO offices and quasi-governmental institutions. Furthermore, it destroyed 107 privately owned workshops and small industrial and commercial plants.IOF also destroyed 90 police and security installations and 25 sites that were used for military purposes by armed groups.


The above figures do not account for the attacks that targeted open areas and fields, or the dozens of bodies that remain under the rubble in areas under IOF's invasion; especially in eastern Gaza City, eastern Beit Lahia and Jabalia as well as the eastern borders of Khan Younis, Rafah and middle Gaza district.

 

1. North Gaza District:


At approximately 2pm Saturday, 10 January Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a group of young men in the As-Salatin area, west of Beit Lahia, killing Ahmad Ibrahim Jum'a, 25, and Umar Jum'a, 19.

 

At approximately 2:30pm also Saturday, IOF troops stationed in the town of Beit Hanoun opened fire at the Al-Bora neighborhood, killing an 18-year-old girl, Nariman Abdul-Karim Abu Odeh from a live bullet to her chest.


At approximately 4:20pm Saturday, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a small crowd near Barrawi gas station in Beit Lahia, injuring a 40-year-old pregnant women; Wafa' Al-Masri, and another 24-year-old woman, Ghada Al-Masri. The pregnant woman had to abort her foetus and had her leg amputated. The other woman had both her legs amputated.

At approximately 4:45pm Saturday, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the As-Sultan apartment compound in Jabalia town. The compound's residents started to evacuate it. However, IOF fired artillery shells at the entrance of the compound as people were evacuating, killing three of them, two of whom were children. They were identified as:

 

  • Ali Kamal Al-Nuthor, 12;

  • Amer Kamal Al- Nuthor, 15; and

  • Shadi Fatho Ijneed, 27.

 

Another 11 people were injured, including one child.


At approximately 5:25pm Saturday, IOF troops stationed in Jabalia fired 8 artillery shells towards the eastern parts of the town. Al Mezan's field worker reported that the shells were used for the first time. After hitting the ground, a light bounced from each shell, not very high from the ground. As they landed, they caused fires around it.


About 30 minutes later, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd in Beit Lahia. One man was critically injured, as a result. At 6:45pm, an aircraft fired a missile at the house of Nafiz Al-Helu in northern Beit Lahia, killing two of its residents and injuring three, including a woman and a child. Those who were killed were identified as:

 

  • Mohammed Nafiz Al-Helu, 22; and (his sister)

  • Ameena Nafiz Al-Helu, 18.


Two minutes after, aircraft fired a missile at the Beit Lahia Park, destroying it.


At approximately 7:20pm Saturday, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd of people who were sitting in front of a house in their neighborhood, killing 3 and injuring 6, including a 2-month-old baby. Those who were killed were:

  • Rami Jamal Salman, 21

  • Abdul-Mu'ti Ratib Sulaiman, 20; and

  • Sami Umar, 35.


At approximately 8:25pm Saturday, Israeli aircraft raided a house owned by the Rayyan family in Jabalia, destroying it and damaging three neighbouring houses. No casualties or injuries were reported in this raid.


At approximately 10:10pm Saturday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Waheed Ahmad in Jabalia refugee camp. The house was destroyed and three neighbouring houses damaged; however, no casualties or injuries were reported in this raid.

 

At approximately 2am on Sunday, 11 January 2009, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd of residents of the Al-Karama apartment compound, killing Ibrahim Ayish Salman, 25. When neighbours tried to help the victim, a second missile was fired at them, killing Ala' Fathi Bashir, 40, and his 18-year-old son, Sohaib. Yet, when neighbours tried to help them, aircraft fired a third missile, killing a 40-year-old woman, Lamia's Hasan Bashir, and another 75-year-old woman, Jamila Hassan Zyadeh. Four other people were injured in this attack.


At approximately 3:35am on Sunday, Israeli troops fired an artillery shell at the Al-Karama area. The shell hit the house of Mohammed Khalaf and killed his cousins, Ibrahim Mohammed Khalaf, 35, and Bilal Yihia Khalaf. 25 minutes later, an Israeli aircraft raided the house of Tawfik Saqir, which is located near the Beit Lahia market. The house was destroyed completely and five neighbouring houses were damaged.

 

At approximately 9:30 am on Sunday, 11 January 2009, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile into a crowd of children who were near the Olo Al-Azm Mosque in the north of Beit Lahia, killing the four of them; three girls and a boy. They were identified as:

 

  • Haitham Yasser Ma'rouf, 12

  • Fatima Mohammed Ma'rouf, 16

  • Khawla Ramadan Ghabin, 16, and (her sister)

  • Samar Ramadan Ghabin, 14

 

On the next day, the body of 14-year-old Abdul-Rahma Ghabin was found, raising the casualties of this attack to 5 children. According to Al Mezan Center's investigations, these children belong to families who had evacuated their homes and took shelter in the Al-Fakhora School, which was shelled by the IOF. They went back home with their parents to pick up some clothing and other necessities and return to the shelter.


At 10am on the same day, medical sources at Shifa Hospital announced the death of 51-year-old Abdul-Hakim As-Sultan, who was injured inside his house in the As-Salatin areas western Beit Lahia.


At approximately 11:45am on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at the Al-Jurun neighbourhood in Jabalia. One shell hit the house of Khalid Abid, killing his 25-year-old son Khalid, and injuring his 20-year-old daughter Shahira.


Later, at approximately 1.10pm Sunday, IOF troops fired artillery shells that hit houses in eastern Jabalia, killing Hueesin Nazmi Abu Sultan, 40, inside his house.
At approximately 3:05pm on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at the Al-Bora neighbourhood in Beit Hanoun, injuring a child inside her house. She was identified as Dalia Fareed Abu Odeh, 12. Another woman, Iman Sami Nusair, was injured.


At approximately 3:35pm on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at eastern Jabalia, killing a 12-year-old boy, Mus'ab Abdul-Muhsin Khadir, and a 15-year-old girl, Amal Najeeb Alloush. Another 5 people were also injured.

( Continues . . . )


At 4pm on the same day, the Emergency Administration at Kamal Udwan Hospital announced that four of its ambulances stopped as a result of the shortage in fuel.

At approximately 7pm on Sunday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at the Mas'oud Street in Janalia town, killing a 1-and-a-half-year-old girl, Tasnim Yasser Al-Rafat, inside her house. Another young man, 19-year-old Mohammed Khadir, was also killed inside his house in the area.


Between 7:50pm Sunday and 4pm Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided three houses in Jabalia and Beit Lahia, destroying them completely and damaging 12 houses. The targeted houses were owned by Ibrahim Lubad and Zyad Al-Masri from Beit Lahia, and Yousef Ghbeet from Jabalia.


At approximately 5am today, Monday 12 January 2009, medical sources announced the death of 33-year-old Sa'id Mahmoud Al-Amawi, who was injured in the IOF shelling of the Al-Fakhora School.


At approximately 5:30am Monday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Ali Al-Dhai in Jabalia, destroying it completely. Six minutes later, aircraft raided the house of Mahmoud Abu Matar in Beit Lahia, destroying it and damaging 5 houses near it. One hour later, they raided the Sheikh Zayid town's park, damaging it and many houses in its vicinity.


At approximately 7:35am Monday, Israeli troops fired artillery shells at houses in eastern Jabalia and Beit Lahia, killing a 34-year-old woman, Afaf Hasan Jum'a, inside her house.

At approximately 7:40am Monday, Israeli aircraft raided a farm in the Al-Nuzha Street in Jabalia town, injuring 3 children (girls).


At approximately 7:35am Monday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Sa'di Al-Jamal in Jabalia, destroying the house and damaging three houses and a kindergarten near it. At 8am, medical sources announced the death of a woman, 22-year-old Amal Al-Madhoun, who was injured on 9 January 2009 by IOF snipers.


At approximately 12:05pm Monday, Israeli aircraft raided a vegetable stand owned by Yasser Shbair in the Sheikh Zayid town, injuring him critically. Later, the corpse of Khalid Al-Abid, 21, was found in the As-Salatin neighbourhood western Beit Lahia.

 

2. Gaza City District:


At approximately 12:30am Sunday 11 January 2009, about 20 Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles invaded the southern suburbs of Gaza City. The force, covered by helicopter gunships and aircraft, reached the southern Gaza City neighbourhood of Tel Al-Hawa. Tanks and aircraft opened heavy fire on the area.


At approximately 2am, an artillery shell hit the house of Tal'at Hamodeh in the Tel Al-Hawa neighbourhood, killing his two children and injuring him and his wife. The children were identified as:

 

  • Faris Tal'at Hamodeh, 1 and

  • Mohammed Tal'at Hamodeh, 2


Three hours after its invasion, the force evacuated, leaving 13 casualties. It should be noted that the IOF had thrown leaflets on this neighbourhood ordering its residents to evacuate their homes. Most of them left to go to UN shelters or relatives' homes. Some stayed.


At 1:40am Sunday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Ahmad Al-Ja'bari, who is a leader in Hamas. The 4-storey house, which is located in the eastern Gaza City neighbourhood of Al-Sheja'yia, was completely destroyed. Many homes around it were damaged.

At approximately 2am also Sunday, Israeli aircraft raided a mobile-phone and foreign exchange shop near the Paediatrics and Optics Hospitals in Nasser neighbourhood in Gaza City. The shop was destroyed and the two hospitals and many houses in the area were damaged, especially in the neighbouring Ad-Dana apartment Block.


At approximately 5:15am Sunday, Israeli aircrafts raided a 4-story house owned by Mohammed Awadallah, 76, in the Nasser neighbourhood in Gaza City. The house was completely destroyed.


At approximately 7pm Sunday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Fatah PLC member, Mohammed Dahlan in the Rimal neighbourhood in Gaza, destroying it completely. At the same time, IOF troops fired artillery towards the house of Ahmad Mushtaha, 55, in the Al-Shijayia neighbourhood in the east of Gaza City, killing him and his 24-year-old son, Wajeeh. As neighbours arrived at the house to help the victims, an IOF drone fired a missile at the house, killing two: Mohammed Al-Jundi, 20, and his brother Monthir.

 

At approximately 11pm Sunday, IOF fired an artillery shell at the house Hisham Al-Katati in the Az-Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City, killing his wife, 42-year-old Dalal Al-Katati.

 

At approximately 2am Monday, 12 January 2009, Israeli aircrafts fired a missile at two men, Mohammed Nassar, 22, and Ayman Shaldan, 35, in the east of the Al-Shija'yia neighbourhood east of Gaza City. They were both killed. As Jaber Hussein Habib, 52, and Mohammed Jamal Yasan, 17, tried to help them; a second missile targeted them and killed them.


3. Middle Gaza District:


At approximately 12pm, on 10 January 2009, an IOF aircraft fired a missile at As-Sika Street in eastern Al Bureij refugee camp in middle Gaza district, killing 26-year-old Mohammed Hasan Harb.


At approximately 12:55pm on the same day, IOF fired artillery shells at As-Safaa Mosque, which is located in Block 1 in Al Bureij refugee camp. One of the shells landed directly on the mosque, destroying it partially. Another shell hit an adjacent house owned by 28-year-old Mousa Al-Askari, destroying it partially and injuring Mousa's wife and his two sons, who were identified as:

 

  • 6-year-old Ayman Al-Askari;

  • 7-year-old Mos'ab.

 

The latter was reported to have sustained critical injuries.

At approximately 1.30pm, the IOF fired artillery shells, followed by an air raid on the apartment of 39-year-old Ramzi Hasan Suliman Abu Ad-Deeb in An-Nouri Tower in An-Nuseirat refugee camp of the middle Gaza district. The attack caused damage to the apartment, and injured 12-year-old Mojahed Ali Al-Burs, and his 17-year-old brother, who died of his wounds later.


At approximately 7.45pm, on the same day, IOF aircraft raided farm land west of the An-Nuseirat camp. The attack injured an 88-year-old woman, Fatma Mohammed Ahmed Tbeil, with shrapnel while she was in her house. Fatma died of her wounds later.


At approximately 11.30pm, on the same day, IOF aircraft raided the two-storey house of 55-year-old Abdul-Rahim Shaker in An-Nuseirat camp. The house which was inhabited by five persons was totally destroyed as well as three nearby houses.

 

At approximately 12.5am, on 11 January 2009, IOF aircraft hit the two-storey house of Farhoud Younis Abu Khabeeza's in An-Nuseirat camp. The house was inhabited by five families, a total of 25 persons. The attack destroyed the house totally and caused damages to five neighbouring houses.


At approximately 12.20am that same day, IOF aircrafts bombarded the two-storey house of 49-year-old Mohammed Hasan Shahin, which was inhabited by nine persons. Shahin's house and another nearby house were destroyed as a result.

 

4. Khan Younis District:


At approximately 10pm, on 10 January 2009, the IOF launched tens of artillery and aerial attacks at areas along the borderline, east of Khza'a village, east to Khan Younis city. Shells hit many houses in the village. According to eyewitnesses, some of these shells released white smoke causing residents to suffer from suffocation, spasm and syncope. Tens of houses also were burnt.


At approximately 10.30, on the same day, the IOF shelled with artillery a house for Qdeih family, also in Khza'a village, killing 35-year-old Hanan Fathi Qdeih and injuring all of her kids and other family members.


At approximately 10.30pm, on the same day, IOF aircraft raided the house of Ibrahim Baraka in Bani Suhaila town, in the east of Khan Younis. The house was damaged as a result.

 

Earlier, at approximately 8am that same day, IOF aircraft shelled a group of people who were close to the area of the IOF's incursion into Khza'a village, killing 22-year-old Nour Mohammed Ameish. Other people, including a woman, were killed in another attack in the village.


At approximately 10.30 that same day, IOF aircraft fired a missile at a group of people close to Al-Awda school, which is located on the main street connecting Abasan town and Khza'a village east of Khan Younis. The shelling killed 19-year-old khaled Abu Ryiala, and injured another person.


5. Rafah District:


At approximately 2:38pm on Sunday 11 January 2009, Israeli aircraft raided the Al-Falah Charity's building in the Al-Shabora refugee camp in Rafah's refugee camp. No casualties or injuries were reported.

 

Earlier, at 1:55pm also Sunday, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a civilian car on the Awni Dheer Street in Rafah, injuring four people; including a doctor, and destroying the car.

Between 3:10pm and 7:10pm on Sunday, Israeli aircraft launched a series of air raids at the borderline between Rafah and Egypt. Later, at 2am Monday, they launched another series of air raids. In all, they fired 42 heavy missiles, according to Al Mezan's field worker in Rafah.


At approximately 4:15am on Sunday, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a motorcycle, killing Mohammed Al-Sha'ir, 23, and critically injuring Mahmoud Abu Luli, 24.


These attacks have continued in the midst of a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with approximately 200,000 people having already left their homes. Most of the population does not have access to water. Moreover, the health sector is still suffering from an enormous load of dead and injured people under severe shortages in medical supplies and personnel, and restrictions on the movement of ambulances and medical consignments.

Al Mezan Centre asserts that countless acts by the IOF represent scandalous war crimes, the worst of which being the indiscriminate attacks on houses full of people, killing ambulance teams while attempting to reach them and leaving them to bleed or starve to death only metres from IOF troops. Additionally, IOF's restriction of the passage of foodstuffs and targeting of electric lines has caused civilians to live in dire conditions.


Al Mezan Centre therefore renews its strong condemnation of the IOF's aggression on the Gaza Strip, and its flagrant disregard of the applicable rules of international law. This behaviour has so far cost the lives of hundreds of civilians and the suffering of hundreds of thousands.


Al Mezan also renews its deploring of the failure of the international community to prevent such violations of international law. While civilians have been murdered, the UN Security Council took a very long time debating disputed political affairs, while it should have acted to prevent the killing of children and innocent civilians, and to ensure the provision of humanitarian aid in accordance with international law.


Hence, Al Mezan Centre calls upon the UN Secretary General, as a matter of utmost urgency, to focus on the protection of civilians who are the main victims of the violation of international law by Israel. Political debates can wait; however, civilian life cannot be compensated. The United Nations is being called on to ensure the compliance with international law and the protection of civilians, including its own staff. Every hour of aggression on Gaza in the way we have witnessed during the past 16 days means the loss of more civilian life, destruction of property and extending the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people who should be protected, not neglected.


Al Mezan Centre also calls on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War, of 1949, to live up to their legal and moral responsibilities upholding their own obligations under Common Article 1, by respecting, and ensuring respect of, the Convention.


The Centre, while commending the worldwide action against these violations, calls on civil societies around the world to exert more pressure on their governments so that they act in conformity with the relevant human rights and humanitarian obligations as prescribed in relevant international law.

 

END