Seven Gazans killed in day of Israeli air, shelling attacks

Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip mourn during the funeral of Hamas fighters killed in an Israeli air strike the previous day, 6 February 2008. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

On 7 February 2008, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed seven Palestinians, raising the number of victims from its military attacks to seventeen persons since the beginning of this month, and 96 persons since the beginning of 2008 in the Gaza Strip. The IOF launched seven attacks in different parts of the Gaza Strip since last night, of which the most affected areas were Khan Younis, al-Nuseirat, and other areas in northern Gaza.

According to Al Mezan field investigations, this morning and yesterday evening, the IOF launched a series of missile attacks using ground-to-ground missiles and helicopters. The arbitrary attacks left seven Palestinians killed and ten injured. Five of the injured were reported to have sustained serious injuries, including two students at the Agriculture School in Beit Hanoun. At approximately 7:30am, on 7 February 2008, the IOF launched a missile, resulting in the killing of a teacher in the Agriculture School, 41-year-old Hani Shaaban Naim. One other student was injured in the attack, however, not critically. All three students injured were under the age of eighteen.

IOF drones and helicopters launched three missiles between 3:55am and 4:15am on the same day. As a result, 23-year-old Jawdat Abdullah Nabhan, 26-year-old Muhammad Yusuf al-Mutuak, and 22-year-old Osama Fayez Assaf were killed. Mr. Assaf’s body was found after about three hours. At approximately 3:20am the same day, the IOF launched a missile at a group of young men while they were gathered near al-Ja’l petrol station in eastern Beit Hanoun. As a result, 20-year-old Abdullah Nabhan was killed and two others were injured. One of them was reported to have sustained serious injury.

At approximately 3:15am, the IOF launched a missile at a group of young men gathered near Talet al-Rayes in Gaza City’s northeast al-Tuffah neighborhood. As a result, 25-year-old Ahmed Zakaria Abu Hamid and 40-year-old Hamouda al-Shurafa were killed and two others were injured. One of them was reported to have sustained serious injury.

Last night, 6 February 2008, the IOF launched three attacks at different areas in Beit Hanoun, al-Nuseirat refugee camp and the eastern area of Khan Younis. As a result, three persons were injured, including one child and one woman. They were reported to have sustained serious injury. The shelling also resulted in the destruction of an agricultural store in al-Nuseirat refugee camp and caused partial damage to a number of neighboring houses.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reiterates its strong condemnation of the escalating acts of murder committed by the IOF in the Gaza Strip. These acts affect a large number of innocent civilians, which constitutes grave violations of international humanitarian law that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Al Mezan warns of the consequences of the international community’s unending silence towards these crimes. As a result, the IOF is encouraged to move forward in escalating acts of murder without any commitment to the principles of discrimination and proportionality. The IOF must be forced to take active measures to avoid causing harm to civilians and non-combatants, and prohibit taking non-military steps, including collective punishment. Al Mezan Center calls on the international community to act urgently to stop Israeli war crimes and to provide international protection for civilians in the Palestinian territories, as this is part of their legal and moral duty towards the civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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