Israeli forces kill four, arrest dozens in ongoing Gaza operation

Palestinians attend the funeral of Ibrahim al-Shami, a Fatah activist who was killed by Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip, 14 August 2007. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

Since the pre-dawn hours today, 14 August 2007, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has been waging a large-scale incursion into the town of New Abasan to the east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Up to the publication of this press release, IOF killed four Palestinians: two civilians, one of them an elderly woman, and two resistance activists who attempted to resist the incursion. In addition, IOF injured 14 Palestinians. It is noted that IOF continue to prevent ambulances from reaching the injured. In addition, IOF are carrying out a major arrests campaign in the area. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights warns against the continued IOF presence in the town, which could lead to additional casualties and destruction of property. It is noted that, since 1 June 2007, IOF have killed 72 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. These victims included 47 unarmed civilians, among them nine children and one woman.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 00:40 on Tuesday, 14 August 2007, IOF infantry infiltrated into New Abasan to the east of Khan Younis. These forces clashes with a number of resistance activists deployed in the area. A large number of IOF armored vehicles, supported by combat aircraft, moved into the area. At approximately 1:45, an IOF plane fired two rockets at a group of resistance activists near the main power transformer in the area, nearly 1.5 kilometers away from the Gaza Strip border. One resistance activist, Mohammad Yusef Abu Musameh (21), was killed and three others were moderately injured. IOF moved nearly three kilometers into the Gaza Strip; and raided a number of houses and transformed them into military outposts. Residents are held by IOF inside their houses.

At approximately 4:10, and IOF plane fired two rockets at a group of resistance activists near the house belonging to Ghassan al-Jorof. Five of them were injured, with one of the injuries listed as serious.

During the clashes, the resistance activist Mohammad Omar Hussein al-Qarra (27) was injured. He bled to death as IOF prevented medical crews from reaching the area. The activist’s mother, Sabha Suliman al-Qarra (70), went out of the house to try and see what happened to her son. IOF shot her and killed her instantly. The bodies of the mother and her son remain near their house as IOF continue to prevent medics from accessing the area. PCHR’s fieldworker could not reach the area to gather further information about the incident, and relied on the statements of area residents.

At approximately 8:00, Ibrahim Abd El-Karim al-Shami (38) was killed by IOF as he was on top of a water tank in his land in the town. He was killed by multiple bullets to different parts of his body.

Six civilians were injured by indiscriminate fire and shelling. They were taken to Naser Hospital for treatment, where their injuries were listed as moderate.

IOF called out through loudspeakers ordering all males aged 15 to 50 to get out of their houses and gather in one of the town squares. More than 80 persons were detained and taken to military outposts inside Israel. The detainees were subjected to field interrogations in the town square.

In addition, area residents stated that IOF are bulldozing and razing agricultural land in the area.

PCHR is extremely concerned over this IOF escalation, and:

  • Condemns these crimes that are a continuation of a series of Israeli war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that reflect disregard for civilian lives. The Centre views IOF operations as acts of reprisal and collective punishment that violate Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949).
  • Points out that the IOF does not respect the principles of necessity and proportionality in using its war machine in inhabited areas, leading to additional victims among the civilian population and their properties.
  • Calls upon the international community to act immediately to stop these crimes. The Centre renews the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 of the Convention that stipulates taking action to ensure that the Convention is respected by all parties. In addition, the Centre calls upon the High Contracting Parties to fulfill their responsibilities under Article 146 of the Convention to pursue parties suspected of committing serious breaches of the Convention, noting that serious breaches of the Convention are considered war crimes under Article 147 of the Convention and under the First Optional Protocol Additional to the Convention.

    Related Links

  • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
  • BY TOPIC: Extrajudicial Killings