Nine Palestinians killed and dozens wounded in new Israeli invasion of Gaza City

Nine Palestinians, including a 14-year-old child, were killed and 20 civilians were wounded when Israeli occupying forces last night invaded the eastern residential areas in Gaza City.

According to PCHR’s investigation, at approximately 23:30 on Monday, 23 September 2002, more than 90 Israeli heavy military vehicles, covered by intense shelling and supported by combat helicopters, invaded al-Shojaeya neighborhood in the eastern part of Gaza City. They moved into the neighborhood up to the main road, Salah al-Din Street, and the edge of al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the south of the city. Besides killing 9 Palestinians, 7 of whom were civilians, and wounding 20 civilians by indiscriminate shelling, the Israeli forces also destroyed a number of workshops and houses.

During the incursion an Israeli heavy military vehicle fired two artillery shells at a 200-square-meter, two-story uninhabited house in al-Shojaeya neighborhood owned by Fathi Rabah Sa’id Farahat, father of Mohammed Faraht, who carried out an armed attack against “Etsmona” settlement in the southern Gaza Strip on 7 March 2002. Farahat and a number of settlers were killed in the attack. The house was partially destroyed. In a previous retaliatory operation following the armed attack carried out by Farahat, Israeli occupying forces invaded Khuza’a village, east of Khan Yunis, on 8 March 2002, killing 16 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and wounding dozens.

During last nights invasion, Israeli occupying forces destroyed a number of workshops, including a workshop for agricultural tools maintenance owned by Ahmed Hassan Maqat. An adjacent workshop was severely damaged. PCHR’s field officers also reports that dozens of houses were severely damaged. Israeli heavy military vehicles destroyed walls of a number of houses while moving into narrow alleys in al-Shojaeya neighborhood. Electricity, water, telephone and sewage networks in the neighborhood were also destroyed.

According to medical sources at Shifa Hospital in Gaza, those killed were: Walid Hisham al-Mughanni, 14; Eihab Hisham al-Mughanni, 21; Nidal Isma’il al-Sarsak, 27; Ashraf Salim Zowayed, 25; ‘Aadel ‘Atallah al-Dhib, 32; Khaled ‘Aatallah al-Dib, 34; Jaber ‘Abdulah al-Harazin, 40; Mohammed Mahmoud Kashku, 45; and Yassin Nayef Nassar, 50.

Indiscriminate attacks on civilian residential areas and extensive destruction of civilian property carried out wantonly and unlawfully are both war crimes under international humanitarian law. PCHR is deeply concerned about these continuous war crimes and systematic retaliatory actions carried out by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians and their property.

PCHR sees that the silence of the international community encourages Israel and its occupying forces to commit more war crimes against Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon the international community to put an end to their silence and immediately intervene to stop Israel from carrying out these continuous attacks. It also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to meet their obligations to ensure providing protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.