IOF Attack El-Maghazi Refugee Camp in Gaza and Raid Nablus

Israeli soldiers invading the West Bank town of Nablus where they arrested and interrogated local Palestinians 19 July 2006. (MaanImages/Rami Swidan)

From the predawn hours till the publication of this press release, IOF have killed nine Palestinians and injured 81 others, including 14 children and a paramedic. Six of the dead, including two children, fell in El-Maghazi refugee camp, and the others fell in Nablus. IOF had attacked Nablus and besieged governmental buildings, claiming that there were wanted people inside them. IOF continue to detain the bodies of the fallen in Nablus after taking them from an ambulance. PCHR is concerned over the continued Israeli aggression in El-Maghazi and Nablus, which could lead to additional casualties among Palestinians and to additional destruction of their property.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation on the attack on El-Maghazi refugee camp indicates that at approximately 01:30 on Wednesday, 19 July 2006, an undercover IOF unit infiltrated to the east of the refugee camp. Resistance activists discovered them and clashed with them. A resistance activist was killed during the exchange by several bullets throughout the body. The fallen activist is Sa’ed Sami Qandil (21).

Half an hour later, IOF reinforcements arrived. These consisted of heavy armored vehicles and bulldozers supported by helicopters and unmanned drones.

At approximately 06:00, an IOF plane fired a rocket at a group of Palestinians that included resistance activists in an agricultural field. Two resistance activists were killed: Mohammad Fuad Abu Osheiba (20) and Mohammad Omar El-Bashiti (25). The paramedic Anwar Abdel Rahman Abu Holi (43) was injured by shrapnel and his right leg was cut off as he was tending one of the wounded.

IOF took up positions in the Abu Sa’id area, east of El-Maghazi, nearly 1.5 kilometers inside the Gaza Strip. They took over houses and stationed troops on rooftops. Snipers on rooftops fired at civilians and resistance activists. As a result, the resistance activist Omar Farhan Abu Moheisin (32) was killed by a bullet to the abdomen. He is the fourth member of his family killed by IOF during the current Intifada.

At approximately 08:20, an IOF tank fired a shell at a group of civilians, mostly children, gathered to witness the actions of IOF. Two children were killed and 15 were injured, two of them seriously injured. The dead children are Ali Kamel El-Najjar (16) and Ahmad Ali El-Na’ami (16).

The indiscriminate shelling since the start of the attack on El-Maghazi caused the injury of another 49 Palestinians, raising the number of injured to 65, including 12 children. Four of the injured sustained serious injuries. PCHR’s fieldworker reported that IOF continue to indiscriminate shelling and bulldozing operations.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation into the attack on Nablus indicates that at approximately 03:00, nearly 40 armored vehicles and five bulldozers moved into Nablus. IOF moved into the city from three directions: El-Tuor area (southeast), Al-Quds Street (east), and Maslakh Street (northeast). IOF surrounded the Nablus Governorate building, the Government Compound (mostly destroyed during the 2002 attack), Special Police Forces headquarters, Preventive Security Apparatus headquarters, and the Central Prison. IOF raided a number of buildings surrounding these besieged institutions, and transformed them into military outposts. IOF called upon Palestinians in the besieged buildings to surrender to their troops. Then, IOF took over the Ministry of Health Compound in the vicinity and transformed it into an interrogation center to question the Palestinians surrendering to IOF.

IOF bulldozers started to close the streets around the Governmental Complex with earth barriers. At approximately 04:30, Palestinian medical crews indicated that there was an injured person inside the Palestinian Special Police Force headquarters. IOF did not allow medical teams and ambulances to enter the headquarters to evacuate the wounded. At approximately 07:00, IOF threatened to demolish the besieged structures with the besieged people inside if the armed people inside did not surrender. IOF bulldozers started to demolish the wall between the Preventive Security headquarters and the Passport department in the Government Complex. In addition, parts of the Preventive Security headquarters were destroyed. A medical team from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that 3 bodies of dead Palestinians were found on Mount Jarzim, behind the southern end of the Government Complex. A Red Crescent Society ambulance took the bodies and tried to evacuate them out of the area. However, IOF troops stopped the ambulance and took the bodies to the occupied Ministry of Health Compound.

Al-Jazeera technician Wa’el Tannous injured during the Israeli invasion into Nablus 19 July 2006. (MaanImages/Rami Swidan)

PCHR’s fieldworker reported that 10 Palestinians were injured and taken to hospitals. Among the injured are one child and a journalist (Wa’el Tannous, 27, acameraman for Al-Jazeera Satellite Station, who was injured by a rubber-coated bullet in the foot). He added that IOF are currently detaining the security personnel from the besieged buildings after stripping them of their outer clothing. The operation was still ongoing at the time of publication.

PCHR reiterates its concern over the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Centre warns against the ongoing Israeli aggression, which are a violation of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. This aggression will result in additional casualties among Palestinian civilians. In addition, the Centre condemns the acts of willful killing and destruction perpetrated by IOF. These crimes as a form of reprisal and collective punishment against Palestinians, which is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. PCHR points to the fact that IOF do not respect the principles of necessity and proportionality when using its war machine against Palestinian resistance activists when they are in non-combat situations in civilian areas, which leads to casualties from among the civilian population and to damage of civilian property.

In the Center’s view, the complacency of the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and their failure to take effective steps to stop Israeli war crimes, has been a supporting and encouraging element for Israel to continue perpetrating additional war crimes against Palestinian civilians. The legal cover provided to Israel by the US, which purposely hinders international humanitarian law, and the conspiracy of silence by Europe, encourage Israeli to continue to perpetrate war crimes unchecked, placing it above international law.

The Centre reminds the High Contracting Parties of:

  • Their obligations under Article 1 of the convention to ensure respect of the convention under all circumstances;
  • Their obligations in Article 146 of the convention to pursue suspects of committing serious violations of the convention, noting that these violations are war crimes according to Article 147, as specified in the first protocol additional to the convention.

    Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Israel invades Gaza (27 June 2006)
  • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights