Israeli occupying forces escalated their belligerent practices in two different incidences on Monday morning, 15 March 2004. In the first incident, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian civilian in Rafah, claiming that he attempted to escape when they raided the family’s home to arrest his brother. In the same early morning, Israeli helicopter gunships attacked civilian targets in Gaza city.
According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 02:30 on Monday, Israeli occupying forces moved into al-Shouka neighborhood located in the east of Rafah, and surrounded ‘Aayesh Shabib al-Rumailat’s house. Israeli soldiers called through megaphones on residents of the house to evacuate, and ordered the owner’s son, Mustafa, 26, to surrender. While members of the family were evacuating the house through its 3 doors, Israeli soldiers opened fire at the owner’s other son, Mos’ad, 27, instantly killing him with several live bullets throughout the body. After killing Mos’ad, Israeli soldiers raided and searched the house and arrested Mustafa, claiming that he is wanted.
Earlier, at approximately 01:00, Israeli helicopter gunships launched a number of missiles at 3 workshops in the densely populated al-Nasser and al-Zaytoun neighborhoods in Gaza city. Six missiles completely destroyed a metal workshop owned by Mohammed ‘Abdul Qader al-Fassih in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the south of Gaza city.
In addition, three other missiles completely destroyed two metal and advertisement equipment workshops owned by Hani and Ahmed Rabi’ Rezeq in al-Nasser neighborhood in the north of Gaza city, located on the first floor of a 2-storey building owned by Ahmed Khader Abu Hamza. A number of neighboring houses were damaged. One missile also hit the third floor of a building of Palestine Limited Bank, severely damaging it. Four Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were injured and electricity and water networks were damaged. Israeli occupying forces claimed that the targeted workshops were used to manufacture “mortars.”
PCHR condemns this belligerent escalation perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. PCHR believes that international silence and strong United States support serves to encourage Israeli authorities and occupying forces to perpetrate more belligerent violations of international humanitarian law. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to immediately intervene to prevent Israeli violations against Palestinian civilians.