Israeli forces kill one, injure 24 and destroy property in Gaza

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian teacher Hani Naeem, killed in his classroom by an Israeli missile in Beit Hanoun, on 7 February 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stepped up their attacks against the Gaza Strip, launching aerial attacks on different parts of the Strip. The IOF launched two raids on Rafah, killing a policeman and causing considerable material damage in al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah. Also, IOF jet planes launched four attacks on a training site under construction and one attack on a steel factory in al-Zaitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, destroying it. Many homes in the vicinity were damaged. The attacks also resulted in the injury of 24 persons, including 14 children and six women.

According to Al Mezan’s initial field investigations, at approximately 11:30pm on 9 February, IOF warplanes fired a missile at a policeman as he was walking in the al-Brazil neighborhood in Rafah. He was identified as 22-year-old Muhammad Ismail Abu Mteir.

In another attack that same day, an IOF warplane fired four missiles at a large vegetable storage facility in al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah. As a result, the facility was destroyed completely. The owners of the 800-square-meter facility estimated their loss at approximately $700,000 US. Forty workers at this facility, which is owned by Dr. Abdul-Hadi Qishta, lost their jobs.

The strike also targeted another vegetable factory owned by the Shabana Company. The factory’s owners estimated their loss at approximately $350,000. The factory employed 80 workers in two shifts. Fourteen houses in the area were damaged partially or severely; one of them was destroyed completely and its owner and his wife received minor injuries. These fourteen homes were inhabited by 106 persons. Ten citizens were injured in this shelling; most of them were children.

Later that night, at approximately 11:55pm, IOF warplanes launched four air strikes at an unfinished training site in the town of Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis. The attack caused damage to the building.

A few minutes later, at approximately 12:30am (10 February), IOF warplanes fired a missile at a steel factory in al-Zaitoun neighborhood, southeast of Gaza City, destroying it completely and causing severe damage to a nearby workshop. The factory is owned by Yasin al-Madhoun. The shelling also caused damage to many houses and injury to 13 people from the neighborhood, including four children and six women.

Al Mezan Center reiterates its condemnation of the IOF’s deliberate attacks on civilian targets in the Gaza Strip. Such attacks, in which IOF employed excessive force without distinction, constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) and violations of human rights standards.

The IOF’s attacks come during a tight blockade and collective punishment measures against the Gaza Strip’s population. These measures, which are unlawful under IHL, deny the people from basic humanitarian needs. Al Mezan voices its deep worry about the consequences of these measures on public health, subsistence and well-being of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Al Mezan also reiterates its outrage about the continued silence of the international community, which serves only to encourage the IOF to pursue unlawful conducts that cause serious harm to civilians and civilian property. Therefore, Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its international legal and moral responsibilities and take urgent actions to put an end to the Israeli attacks, and to provide protection to civilians under occupation.

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