The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) carried out new attacks on Gaza today, killing two in a ground incursion and destroying one house and one tire store in air strikes.
According to the Al Mezan’s investigations, at approximately 11pm Monday 30 October 2006, IOF fighter jets fired a missile at a house in Bani Suheila, east of Khan Younis. IOF had called Muhammad Abu Hayeh, who leased the house and lived with his family in it, fifteen minutes prior to the strike and told him to evacuate the house. The house was completely destroyed and several neighboring homes were also damaged. The residents were unable to remove their belongings from the house but no injuries were reported.
At approximately 4:15am Tuesday 31 October 2006, IOF troops sneaked into the As-Snati neighborhood in the east Khan Younis town of Khza’a and took positions in fields in the area. Some two hours later they fired at the area and killed two Palestinians: 25-year-old Muhammad An-Najjar and 23-year-old Shadi An-Najjar. A 12-year-old boy and one man were also injured in this attack. IOF armored vehicles and bulldozers then entered the area and destroyed homes and fields under the cover of helicopters’ fire.
Earlier, at approximately 12:30am, IOF helicopters fired missiles at a tire shop near the center of Gaza city causing damages to it. No injuries were reported.
In North Gaza, IOF helicopters fired one missile at an empty field near Hamudeh Petroleum east of Beit Lahia. The strike took place at 7am on Tuesday and caused no casualties.
This escalation is accompanied by more statements from the Israeli government and IOF officials that the IOF is about to execute a wide-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, which, if carried out will presumably cause greater loss of life and property in the overcrowded Strip.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights is highly concerned by this aggression and the expected escalation of IOF’s violations of human rights in the Gaza Strip. The Centre reminds that Israel, by such conduct, is in violation of its obligations under International Humanitarian Law and other human rights instruments and norms. In particular, the destruction of homes with heavy missiles has been increasing without necessity and has caused serious damage to civilians’ property, life and wellbeing.
The Centre reiterates its calls to the international community to intervene in the worsening human rights situation in the OPT and to act in harmony with the legal and moral obligations stemming from IHL and human rights laws and standards. The international community’s silence has only encouraged IOF to continue and to escalate its violations over the last years. Al Mezan also calls for effective protection of Palestinian civilians in OPT.