IOF Bomb a House in Gaza City, Killing Two Parents and Their 7 Children; 34 Civilians Injured

The home in Gaza’s Sheikh Radwan quarter that was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces, killing 9. (PCHR)

Jihad Mohammad El-Saloul’s testimony

“My name is Jihad Mohammad El-Saloul. I’m 49 years old, and work as a teacher. I’m a neighbor of Dr. Nabil Abu Salmeya.

“Tonight at approximately 2:45 in the morning, I heard a small explosion. My wife, our children and I woke up. I thought it was a sound bomb. My children were standing near the window. After about 10 minutes I heard a second explosion. The glass fell over our heads. I got out of the house to see what happened. One of our neighbors is Ahmad Bahar “Abu Akram,” a political leader in Hamas. I thought the explosion was in his home. As I walked, I was surprised that the explosion was in Dr. Nabil Abu Salmeya’s house. I went towards the bombed house. Smoke and thick dust was issuing from the house. I saw an injured, bearded man among the rubble (El-Ja’bari). We put him in a blue Fiat with three young men from among the neighbors. After that, I went to help save others.

The home in Gaza’s Sheikh Radwan quarter that was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces, killing 9. (PCHR)

“We found Abu Salmeya’s son Ahmad, who studies engineering at university. He was injured in the face. He was in pain, and was standing on the balcony of the bombed house. He was calling us. We took him to an ambulance.

“After that I saw a girl, Abu Salmeya’s daughter, who was about 17. She was handicapped. Her body was thrown on the ground, between the trees in the garden.

“Then we found the body of Abu Salmeya’s son, Yehya, who is in fourth grade. It was a headless body. We found the head in the hallway of a neighbor’s house, from Abass family. I knew Yehya and the girl well.

“Then I found another son. He was dead and on the ground.

“Then we found the body of the mother. He leg was torn off.

“Then we found two arms of a man among the trees.

“As to the house next to Abu Salmeya’s house, it belongs to my neighbor Rajih Abbas. Most of the household was injured by glass and brick shrapnel. We took out an elderly woman (65) who is Rajih’s mother. She injured in the leg, which was broken. We took out a child from the same room, from under the rubble and dust. The child was still breathing. I couldn’t believe that the child was still alive.

“The Civil Defense Corps started to search the rubble immediately after the bombardment. At approximately 7:00 in the morning, they found Awad Nabil Abu Salmeya (19), who studies engineering. He was suffering from moderate injuries. He survived by a miracle.

“Dr. Abu Salmeya’s family consisted of 11 members: himself, his wife, five girls, and four boys.

“We only saw his sons Mohammad and Awad. Till now, we don’t know anything about three of his girls, who are still under the debris.

The home in Gaza’s Sheikh Radwan quarter that was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces, killing 9. (PCHR)

“This is a residential area. Even if there were one or two wanted [activists], how can a whole neighborhood be targeted and bombed by planes, causing all this death and destruction to us, them and neighbors who are civilians? They do not want to kill the wanted, but to destroy civilians, kill them, and terrorize them.

“The house is built on an area of 200 square meters. It is two parts. The southern part is old, and consists of a ground floor and a second floor. The second part is an open area with two rooms and a salon for the children.

“The southern part was targeted. The deaths were there.

“This are is called Shanti neighborhood, Amer Project, Sheikh Radwan Quarter.”

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have committed a new war crime against Palestinian civilians, flagrantly breaching the Fourth Geneva Convention. IOF fighter jets dropped two bombs at a two-storey house in a crowded neighborhood in the town of Jabalia. The house belonged to a Hamas leader. The house owner was killed, and so were his wife and seven of their children. The house was completely destroyed. In addition, 34 civilians were injured, including five children and six women. Extensive damage was inflicted on 15 houses surrounding the targeted house.

The home in Gaza’s Sheikh Radwan quarter that was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces, killing 9. (PCHR)

After committing the crime, IOF declared that the bombardment targeted Mohammad El-Deif, the commander of the Hamas military wing, and others with him, claiming that they were in the house. For their part, Hamas confirmed that El-Deif is safe.

This crime is a reminder of the war crime perpetrated on 23 July 2003 to assassinate Salah Shehada, a Hamas leader. In that incident, IOF targeted a residential building in the densely-populated El-Daraj neighborhood. More than 20 people were killed, including women and children, and dozens were injured.

The latest war crime comes within Israel’s policy of extra-judicial assassinations against Palestinian activists. This policy is criticized by the international community as it leads to casualties among innocent civilians.

The home in Gaza’s Sheikh Radwan quarter that was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces, killing 9. (PCHR)

With this crime, the number of Palestinians killed since the start of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip rises to 68, including 33 innocent civilians. Two women and 14 children are among the dead.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 2:45 on Wednesday, 12 July 2006, an IOF fighter jet dropped two bombs at the house belonging to Nabil Abdel Latif Abu Salmeya (46), a leader in Hamas who works as a lecturer in the Islamic University. The two bombs hit the two-storey house built on 200 square meters in the Shanti lands are in the town of Jabalia. The house was destroyed on top of the occupants. The owner was killed, and so were his wife Salwa Ismail Abu Salmeya (42) and seven of their children: Basma (16), Somaya (17, handicapped), Aya (9), Yehya (10), Nasr (7), Huda (13), and Eman (12). The son Awad (19) was rescued, and is suffering from serious injuries. Eyewitnesses indicate that the bodies of the dead were torn and scattered. Work continues to clear the rubble and search for bodies and survivors.

PCHR is greatly concerned over the IOF crimes against Palestinian civilians that have become a trend. The Centre stresses that an arbitrary attack that endangers the lives of civilians and their properties, especially if prior knowledge indicates that civilians could be killed, injured, or have property damaged, is a war crime in the first protocol additional to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In the Center’s view, the complacency of the international community and the High Contracting Parties of 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

    The Centre calls upon the Swiss Government to:

  • to take a leading role in highlighting and acting to stop the grave breaches of international law that are currently taking place in the Gaza Strip, as is its obligation as the depository of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  • to make efforts to mobilise the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to intervene in this situation and meet their obligations to protect the rights of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip under International Humanitarian Law.
  • to call on the Security Council to send an international protection force for the Palestinian civilian population of the Gaza Strip.

    The Centre calls upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to:

  • to issue a statement strongly condemning Israel’s grave breaches of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
  • to make a visit to the OPT in order to see for yourself the long term damage that has already been and is currently being inflicted on the civilian population - a population who should be enjoying protection under International Humanitarian Law.
  • to call a meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in order to ensure that these states fulfil their obligation under international law to protect the civilian population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

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