Israel strikes “safe zone” in southern Gaza

A young boy in a Star Wars sweatshirt and red rainboots stands next to a destroyed building

“There is no safe place in the Gaza Strip,” says Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq.

Omar Ashtawy APA images

Israel continued its relentless bombing of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, striking several overcrowded areas in the center and south.

Journalist Maha Hussaini recorded audio of constant Israeli shelling in the central area at around 1:00 am local time Friday morning.

Earlier in the day Thursday, Hussaini reported that at least five Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Rafah, at the very southern part of Gaza, where Israel has ordered Palestinians to flee.
Israel also bombed Rafah on Wednesday.
The Rafah governorate “is now the main refuge for those displaced,” according to the United Nations.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights stated on Thursday that there are now 1.3 million Palestinians in Rafah – one million more than typically live there, and half of the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

“With a population density of 20,000 [persons per square kilometer], one single Israeli attack can kill hundreds of Palestinians at once,” the human rights group warned.

In Mawasi, a tiny, desolate area in the south of Gaza designated by Israel as a “humanitarian area,” 17 people – 10 of them children – were killed in an Israeli airstrike just after midnight on Thursday morning.

The Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq stated on Thursday that the attacks on Mawasi – as well as those on Rafah and on hospitals – “once again demonstrate that the occupation is lying in its declaration of the existence of safe areas, and that it is carrying out its crimes consciously and intentionally.”

“All of this confirms what we previously declared … there is no safe place in the Gaza Strip,” the rights group said.

“Camps, shelters, schools, hospitals, homes and so-called ‘safe zones’ should not be battlegrounds. Yet Gaza has been laid to waste,” echoed Jason Lee, an official at the charity Save the Children.

Lee remarked that Israel’s relocation orders “offer nothing more than a smokescreen of safety. If people stay, they are killed. If they move, they are killed. People are facing the ‘choice’ of one death sentence or another.”

Storming with tanks

In Maghazi refugee camp, located in the central Gaza Strip, reporter Ahmed Hijazi recorded video on Thursday of people fleeing on foot and taking shelter from Israeli tanks stationed on the main road on the outskirts of the camp.

Drones are buzzing overhead and loud explosions are heard while Hijazi recounts what he sees:

Maghazi has been the target of incessant Israeli airstrikes that have escalated in the past few weeks.
Israeli bombardments were also reported in Nuseirat refugee camp and al-Bureij, also in central Gaza.
And footage of a horrific scene in the immediate aftermath of an Israeli assault on the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza was shared on social media on Wednesday.

In the video, an adult is shown carrying the limp body of a child as people try to help other children walk over piles of rubble on the street.

Meanwhile, human rights groups and journalists are documenting testimonies of Palestinians who have been detained and tortured, or who have survived field executions by Israeli forces in Gaza.

The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza said that as of Thursday, more than 22,400 Palestinians have been killed and more than 57,600 wounded.

Thousands more are missing or buried under the rubble.


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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).