As at time of publication, Israeli forces killed 5 Palestinians, including 2 children, and injured at least 80 others, including 17 children, in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the south of Gaza City. Israeli troops invaded the neighborhood early this morning. PCHR is concerned that the number of casualties will increase as heavy fighting is ongoing and there are restrictions on access for ambulances and medical staff to the area.
Throughout the current Intifada, Israeli forces have conducted a large number of incursions into densely populated Palestinian areas, resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure.
According to preliminary investigations by PCHR, at approximately 00:50 today, Israeli forces moved into al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the south of Gaza City. Soon, more reinforcements, including helicopters and undercover units, were brought to the area. Israeli troops seized control of the neighborhood. They raided a number of houses and established military positions on the roofs. A number of members of the Palestinian resistance clashed with Israeli troops. A member of the Palestinian resistance, ‘Ammar ‘Awad al-Jirjawi, 24, was killed during these clashes.
Also during the incursion, at approximately 05:00, an Israeli helicopter gunship launched a missile at a number of Palestinians who were gathered in the street. One of these, Fadi Ibrahim Nassar, 18, was killed and 8 others were injured. Later this morning, 3 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were killed:
1. Mohammed Faraj ‘Adas, 20, hit by a live bullet to the chest;
2. Ahmed Salem al-Swairki, 16, hit by a live bullet to the head; and
3. As yet unidentified, 11, hit by a live bullet to the head.
In addition, at least 80 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were injured. Palestinian ambulances have faced severe difficulties in reaching the area to evacuate the wounded to hospitals, due to intense Israeli shelling. A number of residents of the area informed PCHR by phone that Israeli troops had set explosives in a number of civilian facilities in the area. Israeli troops have announced a curfew on the area. PCHR’s field workers have not been able to reach the area directly due to the intensity of the Israeli shelling.
PCHR strongly condemns this latest incursion into a civilian area and all violations, including grave breaches, perpetrated by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls on all sides to respect the rules of international humanitarian law, specifically the protection of civilians. PCHR further calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take immediate action to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians in accordance with their obligations under article 1 of the Convention.
For more information please call the office of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972-8-282-4776/282-5893. PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.