Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a farmer while he was near his home in al-Qarara village, north to the town of Khan Younis. IOF also fired artillery into eastern Bureij refugee camp. As a result, one Palestinian was killed. The IOF also shelled two cars while they were traveling on a road that linked the former Israeli settlements in western Khan Younis. Five Palestinians were killed in this assault, raising the number of victims to seven since Wednesday morning, and to 53 (including six children) since the start of February.
According to Al Mezan field investigations, the IOF continued to target civilians after killing three young men in eastern Beit Hanoun with a missile on 23 February 2008. At approximately 3:30pm, on 26 February 2008, IOF opened fire towards civilian homes in al-Qarara village, located in eastern Khan Younis. IOF military vehicles entered the village at a distance estimated at 100 meters. The IOF withdrew from the area twenty minutes later. As a consequence of the IOF’s random gunfire, a farmer, 32-year-old Hassan Salmen Ali Abu Sabet, was killed when he was near his home, located roughly 700 meters from the border. He was transferred to Nasser Hospital for treatment. It was reported that he was injured by three live bullets in the pelvis and right arm, and received shrapnel to his chest. At approximately 6:30pm that day, he was pronounced dead from the injuries he sustained.
At approximately 9:10pm, on 26 February 2008, IOF shelled the eastern area of Bureij refugee camp. The shelling killed 23-year-old Zaki Adnan Abu Zaid, resident of Bureij, whose body was blown into pieces. At approximately 8:00am the next day, children from the nearby area came out of their homes to search for his body. The IOF opened fire indiscriminately and intensively at the children. As a result, 16-year-old Musa Mohammad al-A’edi was injured by a live bullet to his pelvis and was transferred to hospital for treatment. He was reported to have sustained moderate injury.
In the same context, in an IOF assassination, at approximately 8:45am on 27 February 2008, helicopter gunships launched two missiles at a car while it was traveling on the main coastal road in al-Mawasi area. The car was destroyed completely and the five people inside the car were killed. The victims were identified as:
- 19-year-old Hassan Noor Ahmed al-Motawaq, from Jabalia town;
- 20-year-old Mohammad Majdi Abu Lehessein, from Jabalia refugee camp;
- 24-year-old Abdullah Mohammad Udwan, from Beit Hanoun;
- 24-year-old Aziz Jawdat Mas’oud, from Jabalia refugee camp; and,
- 29-year-old Omar Attiya Salama Abu Bakr, from Jabalia refugee camp.
About twenty minutes later, IOF helicopters shelled a minibus traveling about 500 meters from the location of the first shelling. As a result, the vehicle was destroyed completely. The people traveling in the mini bus were able to flee before the missile struck.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the IOF’s continuing escalation of aggression, and its continuing deliberate killings and extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinians, including civilians, in the Gaza Strip. The Center condemns the unending silence and lack of action from the international community, particularly toward the imposed siege that restricts humanitarian aid, including fuel and electricity. In light of the ongoing targeting of civilians by heavy weaponry, the Al Mezan Center calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to act urgently and effectively to stop Israeli grave violations against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and to lift the siege imposed upon it.
Al Mezan also calls on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to hold a special conference in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) to examine the gross and systematic violations committed by the IOF, and to take steps to ensure this convention is respected in the OPT. IOF conduct is contrary to international humanitarian law, particularly the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and must stop.