In Criminal Attacks, IOF Bombard Two Houses Killing 11 and Wounding 23, Raising Toll to 35 Killed and 297 Wounded
Al Mezan: Perpetrators Must Be Prosecuted and Civilians Protected
In a serious escalation, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) deliberately bombarded two houses where dozens of civilians were present, including children, in addition to bombarding other civilian objects in the Gaza Strip. As of , , the number of Palestinian casualties claimed by IOF attacks in the current military operation on the Gaza Strip, which commenced at 3:40 pm on 7 July 2014, has risen to 35, including 7 children and 3 women. Another 297 people were injured in the same period, of whom 71 are children and 66 are women. The number of houses damaged has risen to 268, 40 of which were completely destroyed and most of which were targeted deliberately. Al Mezan strongly condemns the criminal attacks on civilians and civilian property and calls for prosecuting those who ordered and perpetrated the serious violations of international law. The international community must intervene swiftly and effectively to protect the civilian population from such serious violations.
According to investigations by Al Mezan, at approximately 2:55 pm on Tuesday, 8 July 2014 an Israeli drone fired a ‘warning missile’ or ‘roof knock’ at the house of Odeh Kawari' in the city of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip. The residents of the three-story home, which is occupied by five families, left the house; however, dozens of their neighbours gathered in front of the house and many went up to its roof expecting that the IOF would refrain from attacking the house with such a heavy and visible presence of civilians. About ten minutes after the ‘warning missile’, an IOF warplane bombarded the house with heavy missiles. The house was completely destroyed and 7 civilians were killed including 6 children; 28 people were injured. The persons who were killed have been identified as:
- Ammar Judeh, 18;
- Hussein Kawri', 13;
- Mohammed rahim Kawari', 50;
- Basim Kawari', 10;
- Mohammed Ali Kawari', 12;
- Abdallah Kawaei', 6;
- Qasim Odeh, 12; and
- Seraj Abdel Al, 8.
In another attack on a house at approximately 11:45pm on Tuesday, 8 July 2014, IOF warplanes fired two missiles at the home of Mohammed Hamad; the house is located on Hamad Street in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. As a result, 6 people, including 5 civilians (and 3 women) were killed and 5 were injured, including 4 children.
Those who were killed in this attack have been identified as:
- Hafedh Hammad, 37;
- Soha Hammad, 30; (Hafedh's wife);
- Rasmiyeh Hammad, 67 (Hafedh's mother);
- Ibrahim Hammad, 35 (Hafedh's brother);
- Mahdi Hammad, 40 (Hafedh's brother);
- Dina Hammad, 21 (Mahdi's daughter).
Those who were injured are:
- Yanis Hammad, 20; (Mahdi's son);
- Mohammed Hammad, 17; (Mahdi's son);
- Kenan Hammad, 4; (Mahdi's son);
- Nour Hammad, 6; (Hafedh's son); and
- Mohammed Hammad, 5; (Hafedh's son).
Several surrounding houses were damaged in the attack.
Al Mezan condemns these criminal attacks with the strongest terms. Armed attacks that are deliberately directed at civilians in a way that does not ensure compliance with the principles of distinction or proportionality represent war crimes that must be investigated and prosecuted. The acts of killing of civilians, including children, are being committed under the disgraceful silence of the international community, which has failed thus far to intervene to stop attacks against civilians or to protect them.
As serious violations of international law continue by the IOF, mounting attacks that fail to observe international law are expected to occur in the Gaza Strip, which demand that the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, act swiftly and resolutely to provide due protection for the civilian population that are being victimized by these violations.
Reiterating the strongest condemnation of the IOF attacks directed at children, women, and the elderly, Al Mezan calls for an end to the culture of impunity that has encouraged grave breaches of international humanitarian law in previous years. Civilians will continue to pay a high price if the international community does not break this culture.
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