Palestinians carry the body of 21-year-old Bassem al-Jammal during his funeral in Gaza City, 2 November 2006. Al-Jamal was a Hamas activist killed by Israeli forces. (MaanImages/Wesam Saleh)
IOF Continue their Offensive on Beit Hanoun for the Second Consecutive Day: 12 Palestinians Killed, at Least 50 Others Wounded and Civilian Facilities Destroyed
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued killings and destruction in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. IOF moved into the town on Wednesday morning, 1 November 2006, and completely seized control over it. They sealed off the town from the rest of the Gaza Strip. IOF have so far killed 12 Palestinians, including four civilians, and have wounded at least 50 others, mostly civilians, including 15 children and three women.
Investigations conducted by PCHR indicate that IOF have used excessive force against Palestinian civilians, and have not respected the principles of proportionality and discrimination in pursuing members of the Palestinian resistance. IOF have also obstructed the work of medical crews, and have prevented ambulances from attending to the wounded.
As a consequence, a number of the wounded have died and the health conditions of others have deteriorated. This latest offensive has come as an implementation of Israeli threats to launch wide scale operations inside the Gaza Strip. PCHR warns that the continuous presence of IOF in Beit Hanoun may cause more casualties among Palestinian civilians and incur destruction to their property.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, in the early morning of Wednesday, 1 November 2006, at least 70 IOF military vehicles, covered by warplanes, moved into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. They raided a number of houses and transformed them into military sites. IOF military vehicles and warplanes opened fire at the streets. IOF started to raid houses one by one, moving from one house to another one by destroying walls separating between them. On the first day of this offensive, IOF killed eight Palestinians, including two civilians. One of these civilians was killed by IOF when he was inside his house, whereas the other one died from a heart attack when IOF soldiers raided his house. Five the victims were members of the Palestinian resistance who clashed with IOF. The eighth victim was a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces. He was not in a fighting position. On the second day, IOF have killed four Palestinians, including two civilians. One of these civilians is an old man who was killed by an IOF soldier when he was in the balcony of his house.
The other civilian was killed when he was near his house. Ambulances have not been to attend him. PCHR’s field worker in the northern Gaza Strip reports that ambulances have not been able to attend to the wounded without prior coordination with IOF, which takes more than an hour. As a result, the health conditions of 12 of the wounded have seriously deteriorated. As a result of the IOF gunfire, 52 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including 15 children and three women, have been wounded. Nine of the wounded are from one family, whose house was hit by an air-to-surface missile.
Those who have been killed in Beit Hanoun town are:
1. Ahmed Yousef Sa’adat, 23, hit by several live bullets throughout the body;
2. Hussam Mohammed Abu Harbid, 25, hit by several live bullets throughout the body;
3. Tariq Mustafa Nasser, 23, hit by shrapnel from a missile throughout the body;
4. Mohammed Saleh al-Masri, 22, hit by a live bullet to the back;
5. Ahmed Zuhair ‘Edwan, 20, hit by several live bullets throughout the body;
6. Fayez Mohammed Zwaidi, 18, a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces;
7. Khalil Nasser Hamad, 22, hit by a live bullet to the head when he was inside his house;
8. Mohammed Mahmoud Fayadh, 49, died from a heart attack;
9. Diab Ahmed al-Basiouni, 75, hit by a live bullet to the head when he was in the balcony of his house;
10. Yousef Rawhi ‘Aqel, 22, hit by a live bullet to the chest;
11. ‘Essam Mohammed Abu ‘ouda, 29, hit by several live bullets throughout the body; and
12. Bassem Mohammed al-Jammal, 21, hit by a live bullet to the chest.
PCHR strongly condemns military operations conducted by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in the Gaza Strip, whose victims are mainly unarmed civilians. PCHR believes that such operations constitute collective penalties and retaliatory actions in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. PCHR strongly condemns these killings and destruction of civilian property, and: