In the context of reprisals against Palestinian civilians and their property, since Sunday evening, 24 October 2004, 12 Palestinians, 6 of whom were civilians, including a child, have been killed, and 63 others, including 20 children, have been injured by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). In addition, IOF destroyed a house belonging to the family of a wanted Palestinians and 2 neighboring houses. They also destroyed some civilian property and areas of agricultural land. These attacks have taken place during an ongoing Israeli military incursion into al-Nimsawi neighborhood and Baten al-Samin area in the south of Khan Yunis. The continuous presence of IOF in the area may cause more casualties among Palestinian civilians.
According to information available to PCHR, 8 of the victims were killed by missiles fired by scouting drones. Recently, IOF have employed drones to attack Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip. Drones fly over the Gaza Strip day and night to attack members of the Palestinian resistance. PCHR has documented dozens of cases, in which Palestinians were killed by shrapnel from missiles fired by drones. According to testimonies from eyewitnesses obtained by PCHR, missile fired by drones hit a very specific target, causing serious burns and distortions to the body. Drones have been a serious threat to Palestinian civilians, as they target any armed person indiscriminately, even if they are a security official or a combatant not on the battlefield.
According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 21:40 on Sunday, 24 October 2004, an Israeli scouting aircraft fired a missile at 2 members of the Palestinian National Security Force, who were sitting near their site in al-Nimsawi neighborhood. The two were injured, and one of them is in a serious condition. At approximately 22:05, an Israeli scouting aircraft fired a missile at 2 other members of the Palestinian National Security Force, who were walking near Nasser Hospital. The two were instantly killed:
1. Ameen ‘Ata al-Jabour, 24; and
2. Hussam ‘Aabed al-Barreem, 22.
In addition, 4 Palestinian civilians living in the area were injured.
At approximately 23:30, Israeli troops, reinforced by heavy military vehicles, moved into al-Nimsawi neighborhood and Baten al-Samin area. Under the cover of indiscriminate shelling, they initiated a campaign of destruction.
At approximately 23:40, the Israeli air force fired a missile at a number of members of the Palestinian resistance in Baten al-Samin area. One member of the resistance, Mohammed Fawzi Barham Siam, 25, was killed, and 4 others were injured.
In the early morning of Monday, 25 October 2004, an Israeli scouting aircraft fired a missile at a number of members of the Palestinian resistance also in Baten al-Samin area. Three members of the resistance were killed:
1. Sami Nasrallah Zo’rob, 22;
2. Suleiman Barham Zo’rob, ?; and
3. Mahmoud Mohammed al-Bashiti, 24.
At approximately 01:10, the Israeli air force fired a missile at a number of Palestinian civilians in the area, injuring 3 seriously.
At approximately 01:35, the Israeli air force fired a missile at Ahmed Mousa al-Bayouk, 37, who was trying to set fire to tires in protest to the Israeli offensive. He was instantly killed and another civilian was injured.
At approximately 01:40, the Israeli air force fired a missile at a number of members of the Palestinian resistance, who were in a street near al-Nimsawi neighborhood. One member of the resistance, ‘Abdul Rahman Isma’il Abu al-Nemer, 28, was killed, and another one was seriously injured.
At approximately 03:30, Israeli troops completely destroyed a house belonging to the family of Mohammed al-Sinwar, who is allegedly wanted. As a result, two neighboring houses were destroyed.
This morning, Israeli troops opened fire at a number of Palestinian civilians in al-Nimsawi neighborhood. Three civilians, including a child, were killed:
1. Hisham Hassan ‘Aashour, 11;
2. Ibrahim Saber al-Qedra, 18; and
3. Hussein Hassan Abu Namous, 25.
Also as a result of the Israeli indiscriminate shelling, a Palestinian policeman, Eyad Mohammed Abu Lehia, 29, was killed when he was on duty at a police station in Gizan al-Najjar area, nearly 1800 meters away from the source of fire.
In addition, 45 Palestinian civilians, including at least 20 children, have been injured by the Israeli indiscriminate shelling.
PCHR is gravely concerned for the serious Israeli escalation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), especially in the Gaza Strip. PCHR warns of acts of reprisal against Palestinian civilians and their property, in a clear violation of international law and humanitarian law. PCHR reminds the international community of Israeli violations of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, especially article 333, which prohibits collective punishment. PCHR reminds the High Contracting Parties to the Convention of their legal obligations to ensure respect for the Convention, and to take effective steps to stop grave breaches of the Convention perpetrated by IOF in the OPT.