IOF kills four Palestinians: Al Mezan calls on international community to stop expected wide-scaled Israeli campaign of violations
In the midst of increasing assertions by Israeli government officials over the smuggling of arms in the Gaza Strip and impending military operations inside it, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) escalated its attacks on Gaza and killed four Palestinians during new incursions last night and today.
According to field reports, at approximately 6pm yesterday, 17 October 2006, about 15 IOF tanks and armored vehicles entered the Ezbet Abedrabu neighborhood in the east of Jabalia, some 2km from the borderline. They leveled land and streets in the area under heavy firing. They withdrew from the neighborhood at 4am leaving two Palestinians dead: 25-year-old Ghasan Abu Dahrouj and 21-year-old Zahir At Tanani; both of whom are from Jabalia.
At approximately 3:30am today, lines of IOF tanks entered the east of the southern Gazan town of Rafah and reached the Rafah crossing where they took positions and opened fire on nearby neighborhoods. The crossing has been closed by order of the IOF since the 25th of June 2006, except for a few short openings. Two other Palestinians were killed from this IOF fire: 25-year-old Ashraf Al Mu’ashar and 22-year-old Muhammad Abu Arar. IOF are still in this area at the time of issuing this release.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, while condemning IOF’s the aggression, warns of a major expansion of IOF’s operations in the Gaza Strip — a threat that has been frequently reported in the Israeli media during the past two days. The operations, following exaggerated Israeli reports of the smuggling of arms and on the level of armed activity in Gaza, have caused serious violations of human rights and loss of human life and property and constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law.
Al Mezan reiterates its calls upon the international community to end its silence, which encourages such violations, and take more seriously its legal and moral responsibilities towards Palestinian civilians under occupation. It also calls for an end of the illegal occupation by Israel of the Occupied Palestinian Territories and effective protection of Palestinians civilians.