Rafah Daily Update, 11:00pm

Demolished homes in Block O of Rafah refugee camp. An Israeli military post stands alone in a moon landscape left behind by Israeli bulldozers (Photo: Ronald de Hommel)


At least nine Palestinians were killed today in Rafah as the IOF expanded its incursions in the town and stormed new neighborhoods in the southeast of Rafah. IOF’s operation started at 1 am Tuesday 18 May 2004. Today, Israeli military sources announced the expansion of the so-called “Operation Rainbow” to the Al Brazil and As-Salam neighborhoods and said further expansion into the major parts of the refugee camp are expected to occur soon. Meanwhile, the siege of Tel Al Sultan neighborhood has continued and is causing mounting humanitarian repercussions due to the destruction by the IOF of the water network, leaving the besieged population without water supply.

The total number of Palestinians who killed in the town of Rafah since Tuesday is at least 41, including 14 children (see list of their names In the end of this document). Some 103 people have been injured; more than half of them are children. The movement of ambulance services is still obstructed by the IOF. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has documented dozens of cases of bulldozing of streets and houses in Tel Al Sultan, As-Salam and Al Brazil neighborhoods. Demolitions were carried out without warning in the majority of the documented cases.

One day after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding Israel to bring to a halt its demolitions of Palestinian homes, the effects of the international community’s condemnation appears limited. Violations have continued to be perpetrated by the IOF throughout the day and the number of house demolitions has continued to increase.

A Palestinian mother, Suad Al Bayumi, who was held in detention with her five children inside a flat in her two-story-house for two days told Al Mezan that soldiers left her house. She said that she managed to reach her apartment where soldiers were stationed and found that all of the furniture had been destroyed. Her jewelry or savings had disappeared from the apartment. Her daughters refused to go to the bathroom during the detention period as soldiers insisted that the door remain open and one of the guards accompany them. ‘Although there are two bathrooms in the apartment, soldiers used the mattresses and furniture to pee on’, she said.

IOF mined and blew up the house of Sheikh Nafith Azzam, a leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Rafah. Residents of the same neighborhood reported to Al Mezan that many homes were severely damaged by the explosion.

IOF has arrested and detained numerous Palestinians from Rafah. Despite Al Mezan’s efforts to find out their location, the place of seven of them remains unknown. The Israeli Army Legal Advisor only announced that a number of Palestinians were being detained in a house in Rafah. He did not give information on the location of the house or the number of the detainees. The Center questions IOF’s motives behind keeping detainees inside an area where a military operation is ongoing, especially under the mounting threats to invade the main refugee camp. The Center fears IOF will use of the detainees as human shields, as they have done at several occasions in Gaza and the West Bank during similar operations.

Rida Al Afifi, whose home was damaged by Israeli bulldozers in the Al Brazil neighborhood, reported that his house had been bulldozed this afternoon without prior warning. She said that the family could escape thanks to a small connecting door to their neighbor’s house. There are currently 50 people in this house and they are running short of food and water.

The humanitarian situation in the Tel Al Sultan neighborhood has been rapidly deteriorating due to lack of water, medicine and food supplies. Following the destruction by IOF of water pipes, it is impossible to provide water supply to the area. Humanitarian organizations reported to have sent emergency aid to the neighborhood, but still did not reach it.

Residents of Al Brazil neighborhood are still suffering wide-scaled home demolitions. Bulldozers and tanks have hit homes without warning of any kind. Al Mezan has several affidavits from people who hardly managed to leave their homes before they collapsed under bulldozers. Contrary to the declared ‘military necessity’ for demolitions, IOF bulldozers severely damaged dozens of homes to make way for tanks into narrow roads. Houses have also been destroyed in the nearby As-Salam neighborhood. One home was burnt due to Israeli firing in this neighborhood.

A Palestinian family called Al Mezan’s fieldworker and said they had three injured persons in their home. After calling ambulance services which could not reach them, they called the Center’s fieldworker and asked human rights organizations for help. Ambulance services said they were restricted from entering the neighborhood. The wounded are reported to be inside the Al Qutati family house in the middle of Tel Al Sultan neighborhood.

A woman in the Tel Al Sultan neighborhood in Rafah said she was unable to evacuate her home with her children following IOF shelling of a car parked near her home. The car was in burning and fire was spreading while Israeli tanks guarded the area and fired at anything that moved.

The IOF’s operation in Rafah generated further international condemnation today. The UNICEF spokesman in Jerusalem said that the organization was highly concerned at the risks for the well-being of Palestinian children in Rafah and that Israel should watch its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which it is a signatory. Both the Chilean and Austrian governments also condemned Israel’s operation and the targeting of civilians.

Israeli officials at the Karni Crossing told the Palestinian Liaison Office that they would not allow goods of any kind, including medicine, to pass through. They said they lacked the human resources at the crossing. They added that IOF were not likely to allow supplies into Gaza as long as the Palestinian side prohibits what they consider to be  ‘non urgent supplies’, most of which made in Israel.

Al Mezan knew that international aid agencies managed to enter with food and water supplies into Rafah. The mission, however, was allowed into the town after time of waiting and could not return to Gaza City after a long wait at the Abu Holly Checkpoint in the middle of the Gaza Strip. aid materials were likely to be stored in the UNRWA warehouse in the town.

An Israeli helicopter fired two missiles on Tel Al Sultan neighborhood  at around 10am today. No information about casualties were reported until now.

List of the 41 Palestinians killed in IOF’s first and second days operation in Rafah:

  1. Muhammad Khalil Al Jindi, 24, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  2. Walid Mousa Abu Jazar, 27, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  3. Muhammad Abdul Rahman An Nawajha, 27, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  4. Hany Muhammad Qufeh, 17, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  5. Tariq Ahmad Sheikh Al Eid, 24, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  6. Ibrahim Ismail Al Bal’awi, 18, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  7. Ismail Al Bal’awi (previous person’s father), 45, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  8. Muhammad Jasir Al Shair, 17, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  9. Ahmad Jasir Al Shair (previous person’s brother), 18, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  10. Zyad Hussain Shanana, 22, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  11. Imad Fadel Al Mghari, 34, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  12. Mahmud Ismail Abu Touq, 34, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  13. Yousif Zahi Qahwash, 25, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  14. Saeed Ibrahim Al Mghaiar, 23, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  15. Muhammad Abdullah Darweesh, 27, Missile shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  16. Ahmad Muhammad Al Mghaiar, 13, A live bullet in the head;
  17. Asmaa Ahmad Muhammad Al Mghaiar, 16, A live bullet in the head;
  18. Muhammad mas’ud Zourob, 33, A live bullet in the abdomen;
  19. Ibrahim Jihad Al Qun, 17, A live bullet in the head;
  20. Taysir Zaki Kaloub, 31, A live bullet in the abdomen;
  21. Shadi Fayiz Al Mghari, 24, A live bullet in the abdomen;
  22. Usama Abdullah Abu Nasser, 24, A live bullet in the head;
  23. Sabir Ahmad Abu Libdeh, 13, A live bullet in the head;
  24. Khalil Hasan Abu Saad, 37, A live bullet in the chest;
  25. Walid Naji Abu Qamar (Rafah march), 10, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  26. Muhammad Talal Abu Shaar (Rafah march), 20, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  27. Alaa Msallam Sheikh Al Eid (Rafah march), 20, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  28. Mahmud Tariq Mansour (Rafah march), 13, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  29. Fuad Khamis Al Saqqa (Rafah march), 31, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  30. Mubarak Saleem Al Hashash (Rafah march), 10, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  31. Rajab Nimir Barhoum (Rafah march), 17, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  32. Ahmad Jamal Abu Al Saeed (Rafah march), 18, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  33. Mahmud Jamal Al Mghari (Thursday), 21, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  34. Hamid Yasin Bahlul (Thursday), 18, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  35. Mahmud Fathi Deib (Thursday), 22, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  36. Mahmud Najeeb Al Akhras (Thursday), 18, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  37. Wail Muhammad Abu Jazar (Thursday), 18, Shrapnel in different parts of the body;
  38. Jamal Awad Al Assar (Thursday), 39, A live bullet in the head;
  39. Muhammad Ibrahim Jaber (Thursday), 27, A live bullet in the abdomen;
  40. Tamer Youniis Al Arja (Thursday), 3, Trauma following missile attack near his home;
  41. Khalid Abu Anzeh (Thursday), 37, Shrapnel in different parts of the body (found dead after 15 hours).

Related Links

  • BY TOPIC: Israel’s “Operation Rainbow” in Rafah, Gaza
  • MEZAN