The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to escalate their attacks on the Gaza Strip. Seven Palestinians were killed in an IOF air strike and incursion yesterday evening, raising the number of victims since Thursday 27 December 2007 to 15 killed and 17 injured in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Center’s field investigations, at approximately 3:30am, on 2 January 2008, IOF military vehicles, backed by helicopters and scouting drones, entered eastern al-Shaj’iya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City and opened fire randomly in the area. Further, the IOF helicopters fired three missiles at the neighborhood, killing six Palestinians and injuring four others. Two of those injured were women. Those killed were identified as Ahid Mahmoud Shemali, 30, Yousef Muhammad Shemali, 28, Abd al-Kareem Ahmed al-Helo, 22, Hamada Ahmed Abu Amira, 23, Salem Fu’ad al-Wadiya, 26, and Mos’ab Walid Jondea, 25. The IOF pulled out from the area at approximately 6:30am that day.
The previous day, at approximately 3:40am, on 1 January 2008, the IOF launched two ground-to-ground missiles at Maqboula Base (Maqboula is the former base of the national security apparatus), located southeast of al-Bureij refugee camp in the middle of Gaza Strip. The attack killed Yihiya Said Jaber, 23. Minutes later, a third missile was fired as residents gathered in the area, injuring two of them. In a previous attack, at approximately 5:30pm, on 27 December 2007, IOF airplanes (the type of aircraft is unknown) launched two missiles at a civilian car while it was moving on Salah al-Din Street close to al-Nusairat refugee camp. The missile attacks killed 40-year-old Mohammad Ahmed Abu Hasanien and injured 30-year-old Mohammad Fawzi Abu Hasanien, who died of serious wounds a few hours later. The attack also resulted in the injuring of several bystanders, including two children.
At approximately 12:00pm, on 27 December 2007, IOF military vehicles entered the al-Sanati area in eastern Abasan al-Kabeera (Khan Younis) to a distance estimated at about 700 meters. The incursion was accompanied by random heavy shelling under the cover of helicopters. The IOF stormed into several houses and turned them into military barracks. At approximately 3:30pm on the same day, the death of 20-year-old Hani Ramzi Abu Eid was announced. He was injured by shrapnel wounds in different parts of his body. After half an hour, an IOF war plane fired a missile, causing the death of 27-year-old Muhammad Faraj al-Masry and 25-year-old Haitham Talal Abu Hamdan Ela. The shelling also led to the injury of two other people. The random shooting and clashes also resulted in the injuring of four other citizens, including one child. The IOF demolished a house consisting of three floors belonging to Ahmed Muhammad Abu Tair. They also bulldozed 80 dunums of agricultural land before they withdrew from the area at approximately 4:30pm that day.
Earlier that morning, at approximately 9:20am, on 27 December 2007, an IOF scouting drone fired two missiles at three people who were walking in a field in the al-Mughraqa village of southern Gaza City. The attack killed Muhammad Murshid Abu Abdullah, 33, who is known to be a leader of the Islamic Jihad military wing, the Saraya al-Quds Brigades, in the middle Gaza district. It injured two people, including his bodyguard, Abudullah Ali al-Loh, 27, who died of serious wounds on 29 December 2007.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights renews its condemnation of the IOF’s escalating aggression against the Gaza Strip, especially the attacks against the densely populated areas. It also condemns the continuation of the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and calls on the international community for urgent and active intervention to stop these conducts that are incompatible with the norms of international law. These attacks constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and cause deterioration of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
Al Mezan Center also calls on the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the need to uphold their obligations and take necessary actions and measures to ensure Israel’s respect of its obligations under the Convention. Al Mezan urges those parties to intervene immediately and effectively for the international protection of Palestinian civilians in the OPT, especially in the Gaza Strip. The IOF continues to impose siege and collective punishment on the Palestinian population, and increases acts of murder, conducts that are prohibited by the Convention in all cases.