Israeli occupying forces escalated attacks on the Gaza Strip in the last 12 hours., This follows from an attack carried out by Palestinian militants on an Israeli military post north of Khan Yunis. IOF killed 3 Palestinians, including an 11-year-old child, and wounded 7 others, including another child, in Khan Yunis. Israeli helicopter gunships also attacked and destroyed 2 civilian facilities in Gaza City. In the meantime, Israeli troops are destroying houses and razing areas of agricultural land near the Israeli military post that had been attacked. PCHR is deeply concerned at this continued policy of collective punishment by Israeli troops against Palestinian civilians and their properties.
According to PCHR’s preliminary investigations, at approximately 22:00 on Sunday, 27 June 2004, following an attack launched by Palestinian militants against an Israeli military post west of al-Matahen military checkpoint, north of Khan Yunis, Israeli troops positioned in various military posts in the vicinity of settlements built on Palestinian lands in Khan Yunis, opened fire at Palestinian residential areas. As a result. 11-year-old Mohammed Hussein Rezeq al-Shourbaji was seriously wounded by 2 live bullets in the abdomen and the left shoulder, when he was near his house in Jourat al-Lout area, nearly 1800 meters away from “Gadid” settlement, southwest of Khan Yunis. He was evacuated to Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, but medical efforts to save his life failed. Another Palestinian civilian, Ashraf Yousef al-Sabbagh, was killed by a live bullet in the chest, when he was sitting near his house in al-Amal neighborhood, nearly 600 meters away from “Gani Tal” settlement, northwest of Khan Yunis.
At approximately 03:30 on Monday, 28 June 2004, Israeli troops positioned in a military post near al-Matahen military checkpoint, north of Khan Yunis, opened fire at a Palestinian truck, which was nearly 400 meters away from the checkpoint traveling towards it. Tariq Mohammed ‘Ali Abu Sarrar, 16, who was traveling in the truck, was seriously wounded by 2 live bullets in the abdomen and the left foot. When the driver, Musleh Salem ‘Abdul ‘Aal, 49, from Rafah, got out of the truck, Israeli troops fired at him. He was hit by a number of live bullets to the upper part of the body. The two civilians remained bleeding until an ambulance was able to reach them about an hour later. By that time, the driver was dead. As a result of the Israeli shelling during the night, 6 other Palestinian civilians were wounded.
Since the early morning on Monday, Israeli troops have been destroying a number of Palestinian houses and razing areas of agricultural land to the south of al-Matahen checkpoint, north of Khan Yunis. They ordered residents of houses to leave them without allowing them to vacate any of their belongings. PCHR’s field workers have not been able to reach the area, but Palestinian residents informed them by phone that Israeli troops destroyed at least 8 houses.
Also in the early morning, Israeli helicopter gunships attacked 2 workshops located in densely populated areas in Gaza City. The two workshops were destroyed and a number neighboring houses and shops were damaged. Electricity was also cut off in several parts of Gaza City, as an electricity transmitter was hit by shrapnel from missiles.
PCHR remains extremely concerned at ongoing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by the Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including retaliatory actions against Palestinian civilians and their properties, and other grave breaches. PCHR asserts that the international silence towards these violations eallows Israel to act with impunity and so encourages IOF to perpetrate more violations and grave breaches. PCHR reiterates its calls for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal obligations to ensure respect for the Convention in the OPTs and take concrete steps to stop Israeli violations of human rights.