27 Palestinian Civilians, Including 10 Women and 5 Children, Wounded
In the early morning of Tuesday, 08 July 2014, Israeli occupation forces escalated their military operations against the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes launched dozens of airstrikes targeting many civilian objects, including houses. Since last midnight, Israeli warplanes launched 69 airstrikes, in which they fired 99 missiles. Targeting houses while their residents are inside is a serious development as Israeli forces had stopped the policy of targeting houses since the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in November 2012 (“Operation Pillar of Defense”), but resumed this policy in the context of the current military operation codenamed “Operation Protective Edge.” As a result of these airstrikes, 7 houses, a blacksmith workshop and a poultry farm were destroyed, and a number of houses and civilian facilities were heavily damaged. Additionally, 27 Palestinian civilians, including 10 women and 5 children, were wounded. At the time of writing this report, Israeli warplanes are launching more airstrikes on targets throughout the Gaza Strip, and heavy explosions are heard.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) warns of this escalation that will result in casualties among Palestinian civilians and damages to their property.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, the airstrikes were as follows:
Israeli warplanes launched 4 airstrikes using 9 missiles targeting 2 houses and agricultural plots in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah.
At approximately 01:15, an Israel drone fired 3 missiles in about 15 minutes at a house belonging to Mahmoud ‘Eid Salama al-Hashash in al-Hashash area in the northwest of Rafah. The 150-square-meter house, where 13 individuals live, was completely destroyed. The owner of the house stated to PCHR that he woke up hearing the explosion of the first missile in the yard of the house. He awoke members of his family, and they all left the house. About 5 minutes later, a second explosion was heard, and after another 5 minutes, a third explosion was heard. When al-Hashash went back to the house a few hours later, he found that the house had been completely destroyed.
In the period 11:05 – 11:30, Israeli helicopter gunships fired 4 houses at a house belonging to Abdullah Mahmoud Al Hashah in al-Hashash area in the northwest of Rafah. The house was completely destroyed, but no casualties were reported as the residents were not inside.
Israeli warplanes launched 7 airstrikes using 18 missiles targeting 3 houses, an agricultural plot and a paramilitary site in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. The targeted houses were completely destroyed and a number of nearby houses and civilian facilities were heavily damaged. Additionally, 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 women, were wounded.
At approximately 01:40, an Israeli drone fired a warning missile at a 320-square-meter house belonging to Mohammed Mohammed al-‘Abadla, in which two families comprised of 12 individuals live, in al-‘Abadla area in al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis. The Israeli military also phoned al-‘Abadla on his mobile phone ordering him to evacuate the house. A few minutes later, Israeli fighter jets bombarded the house, destroying it completely. A nearby house, the building of al-Qarara Municipality and an office of the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company were damaged. Additionally, 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 women, were injured.
At approximately 01:55, an Israeli drone fired a warning missile at a house belonging to Ameen Ibrahim al-Ghalban in al-Manara neighborhood in the east of Khan Yunis. A few minutes later, an Israeli fighter jet fired a missile at the house. As a result, fire broke out in the house which was extensively damaged. No casualties were reported.
At approximately 02:00, an Israeli drone fired 3 warning missiles at a 170-square-meter house belonging to Samer Ismail Abu Daqqa, in which 6 individuals live, in Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis. The Israeli military had already called Abu Daqqa’s wife on her mobile phone ordering the evacuation of the house. A few minutes later, an Israeli fighter jets fired a missile at the house destroying it completely. A nearby house was also damaged.
The Central Gaza Strip:
Israeli warplanes launched 13 airstrikes using 16 missiles targeting agricultural areas and paramilitary training sites. A number of houses were heavily damaged, and 2 women were injured. Additionally, 2 members of a Palestinian armed group were wounded, one of whom sustained a serious wound.
Israeli warplanes launched 9 airstrikes using 11 missiles targeting a house, training sites of Palestinian armed groups, agricultural lands and a blacksmith workshop. The house and the workshop were destroyed and a number of houses were heavily damaged. A Palestinian civilian was lightly wounded. Additionally, 2 members of a Palestinian armed group were seriously wounded.
At approximately 03:30, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a 2-storey house belonging to Sami al-Za’bout, in which 6 families live, near Mos’ab Bin Omair Mosque. Ten minutes later, Israeli warplanes fired 2 missiles at the house destroying it completely. A number of nearby houses were also damaged.
At approximately 05:00, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a blacksmith workshop in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood. As a result, the workshop was completely destroyed.
The Northern Gaza Strip:
Israeli warplanes launched 36 airstrikes using 45 missiles targeting houses, agricultural plots, training sites of Palestinian armed groups and a poultry farm. As a result of these attacks, 19 Palestinian civilians, including 5 women and 5 children, were injured, 2 houses were partially destroyed and a poultry farm was completely destroyed.
At approximately 03:00, Israeli drones fired 3 missiles at a 2-storey house belonging to Eyad Rebhi Olayan, in which 24 individuals live, in Beit Lahia. The three missiles landed on the yard of the house causing extensive damage, but the residents survived the attack
At approximately 03:50, Israeli warplanes fired 3 missiles at a house belonging to Mohammed Shabat, in which 5 individuals live, in Beit Hanoun. The house was heavily damaged and a car belonging to Shabat was destroyed, but no casualties were reported.
PCHR strongly condemns these Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end to such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions.