In what many Palestinians are calling “Gaza’s 9/11,” Israeli warplanes today destroyed the 12-story “Zafir 4” residential tower in Gaza City’s Tal al-Hawa neighborhood.
This video captures the moment. It appears that the building was struck by two missiles.
The tower was part of the Zafir complex and contained 44 apartments housing about 240 people. Residents had reportedly received warnings to leave the building, but medical officials said 17 people were injured, four of them children.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights states that the building was attacked by Israel “without giving any specific explanation that can be verified.”
It adds: “Al Mezan’s investigations indicate that no military activities took place in or around it. Hundreds of its residents; most of whom are families headed by employees of the Palestinian Authority, were displaced.”
At least ten Palestinians were killed in relentless Israeli airstrikes across the Gaza Strip on Saturday, mostly women and children, Ma’an News Agency reported.
Human rights groups have condemned Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilian homes and infrastructure, but amid international complicity and silence, it has continued the practice unabated.
At least 2,103 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since 7 July, Ma’an said.
The social media use of the term “Gaza’s 9/11” to describe today’s tower destruction is a reference to the 11 September 2001 attacks that destroyed New York City’s Twin Towers.
But the overall death toll in Gaza since Israel’s bombardment began on 7 July proportionately far exceeds those attacks.
Nearly three thousand people died in the 11 September attacks.
If Israel’s attacks on Gaza had been on the United States, it would be the equivalent of about 375,000 American deaths. That means Gaza has experienced about 125 “9/11s” since 7 July. This is hardly surprising, since Israel has dropped the equivalent of an atomic bomb on Gaza.
Twitter user @ZiadBGaza tweeted about his experience living near the destroyed tower. Here are some of his tweets:
Building housed Fatah officials
Israel has claimed that the building that was home to hundreds of people “was a center of terror activity, and housed several Hamas operation rooms.” It presented no evidence to support these claims.
But according to Dr. Ramy Abdu, chair of the independent group Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, in addition to housing many ordinary people, the Zafar 4 tower was also home to several senior Fatah officials.
Fatah is the faction headed by Palestinian Authority de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas who is in de facto alliance with Israel through the PA’s so-called “security coordination” with the Israeli occupation army in the West Bank.
The officials who lived in the building included Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, a senior Fatah leader in Gaza; Nazmi Muhanna, a Fatah leader and the head of the border crossings administration for the PA; and Rawhi Fattouh a former advisor to Mahmous Abbas.