Israeli helicopters launch attack on Gaza City

An Israeli Cobra helicopter firing from the sky.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, 15 May 2004, Israeli occupying helicopter gunships fired missiles at 2 civilian facilities in densely populated areas in Gaza City.  The two facilities and a number of neighboring buildings were severely damaged and 10 Palestinian civilians, including a paramedic, were injured.

According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 01:30, an Israeli helicopter gunship launched 3 missiles at the first floor of a 3-storey building owned by Akram Sabri al-Hatu in the densely populated al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City. Two missiles struck the offices of the Union of Nurses which is located on the first floor of the building causing extensive destruction. The third missile struck an uninhabited residential apartment located opposite the office of the Union of Nurses also causing extensive destruction.  A number of neighboring houses and shops were also damaged.  10 Palestinian civilians, including a paramedic, were injured in the attack, and a number of other civilians were treated for shock.  The office has been used exclusively by the Union of Nurses for more than one year.  In the past, the office space was rented as the headquarters of the Palestine Centre for Research and Studies, which is known for its close relations with the Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad.

Approximately 20 minutes later, Israeli helicopter gunships launched 5 missiles at the offices of al-Ansar Charitable Society, which are located in a 2-storey building in the densely populated al-Nasser neighborhood in the north of Gaza City.  Three of the missiles directly hit the building, causing extensive damage.  The other two missiles did not explode.

PCHR strongly condemns this latest targeted attack on civilian facilities by Israeli occupying forces.  The use of such force in densely populated civilian areas reflects the increasing disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take immediate action to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention and the protection of Palestinian civilians.

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