Over a 36-hour period this weekend, the Gaza Strip witnessed the highest rate of fatalities than any other time since the implementation of the Israeli Disengagement Plan in September 2005.
Following the extra-judicial execution of 5 Palestinians in Rafah on Friday, 7 April 2006, IOF committed two further extra-judicial executions in Gaza City and Khan Yunis on Saturday, 8 April 2006, which left 8 Palestinians dead. On Sunday morning, 9 April 2006, a Palestinian civilian was killed as a result of the continuous Israeli artillery shelling on the northern Gaza Strip. This brings the total number of Palestinians killed by IOF in the last two days to 14 and the number of injured persons to 30.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 13:45 on Saturday, 8 April 2006, IOF aircrafts launched two missiles at a civilian car (a white Citroen) that was traveling in al-Karama Street, to the northeast of the al-Shojaeya neighborhood of Gaza City. Three members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement, were traveling in the car. One of the missiles directly hit the car and destroyed it. Two of its passengers were instantly killed: Sami Mohammed Abu Shari’a, 24, from the al-Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City; and Mahmoud Yasser ‘Ajjour, 20, from the al-Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City.
The third passenger, 30-year-old Sharif ‘Abdul Mon’em Abu Daya, from the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, was seriously injured.
At approximately 22:30, also on Saturday, IOF aircrafts launched 3 missiles at a number of members of the Martyr Ahmed Abu al-Rish Brigades, one of the military wings of the Fatah movement, while they were a few meters away from a training center belonging to the brigades in the al-Amal neighborhood of Khan Yunis. Six members of the Brigades, including two brothers, were killed: Ibrahim Mar’ei Jaber ‘Abdul Hadi, 29, whose brother was also killed by IOF on 2 March 2003; Mohammed ‘Abdullah ‘Abdul Hadi, 18; Mohammed Sa’ad Abu al-Husain, 18; Hassan Sa’ad Abu al-Husain, 22; Huthaifa Suleiman Shubair, 22; and Mohammed Sami Hamdan, 22. Four other members of the Brigades were injured in the attack.
At approximately 09:00 on Sunday, 9 April 2006, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, to the east of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip, fired many artillery shells at the town. One of the shells hit a taxi that was being driven by Yasser Hassan Abu Jarad, 29, from Beit Lahia, near a site belonging to the Palestinian National Security Forces, approximately two kilometers away from the border. Abu Jarad was instantly killed. In addition, 4 members of the National Security Forces and two civilians were injured.
This attack brings the number of Palestinians that have been injured by IOF artillery shelling since last night up to 17. IOF have recently intensified shelling of Palestinian residential areas in the Gaza Strip, which terrifies residents and threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians, especially children.
PCHR strongly condemns this latest escalation in IOF attacks on the Gaza Strip, which is likely to lead to further Palestinian casualties. PCHR asserts that such crimes serve to aggravate the cycle of violent attacks and retaliation in the area. PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to meet their obligations to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT.