PCHR condemns the latest Israeli assassination attack in Gaza city this afternoon in which 7 Palestinians were killed, including an infant. Today’s attack is the latest in Israel’s policy of extrajudicial killings which has been stepped up in recent days, in total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians. This attack brings the total number of casualties from such attacks to 23 Palestinians in the last 48 hours. Five of those killed were targeted by Israel, 18 were non-targeted civilians.
According to PCHR’s initial investigation, at approximately 15:50 this afternoon an Israeli helicopter gunship launched 5 rockets at a car that was traveling along Al-Jalaa Street in central Gaza city. Four rockets hit the car, killing all occupants. The occupants were later identified as Yasser Mohammed Ali Taha, 31, from al-Bureij Refugee camp, and his 7-month pregnant wife, Islam Abdullah Taha, 25, and their baby, Khawla, 18 months.
According to PCHR’s information, Taha had been wanted by the Israeli authorities for many years due to his alleged participation in the military wing of the Hamas movement. In March 2003, Israeli occupation forces raided Taha’s family home during an incursion into the al-Bureij camp, in the central Gaza Strip. His father and three of his brothers were arrested during the raid, but Taha escaped capture. The family home was demolished during the incursion. Taha’s father and brothers remain in Israeli detention.
Four non-targeted Palestinians were also killed in today’s attack and more than 20 were injured. The wounded were transferred to Shifa hospital in Gaza city, several of whom remain in a serious condition, according to medical sources. Several children were among the wounded. The four bystanders killed were identified as Jihad Jasser al-Saoudi; Ahmed Mohammed Samour; Saed Ziad Gherbaen; and Mohammed Khalil Matar.
The fifth rocket launched by the Israeli helicopter gunship missed the targeted car and hit the Abdul Fatah Nijm family home, located only a few metres from where the car was hit. No injuries were reported.
In light of this ongoing escalation in attacks by the Israeli occupation forces on Palestinian civilians, PCHR reiterates its calls to the international community, in particular the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to fulfill their obligations to ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilian population. PCHR is concerned that a further escalation in violence, including increased attacks on civilians, are likely to take place in the coming days. The ongoing failure of the international community to intervene will serve only to encourage the Israeli occupation forces to perpetrate further attacks against the Palestinian civilian population.
For more information:
PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 7 2824776
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. Web: www.pchrgaza.org