In another lethal attack on Palestinian civilians, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired a missile into a group of men in Gaza City, killing eight people. The attackoccurred minutes after the prayer in a nearby mosque and as people were still going home from the mosque. From among dozens of attacks on civilian targets, the IOF bombarded a factory near the stores of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), setting food stocks on fire. The media in Gaza reported an attack near a mosque in which about 17 people were killed from the Al Batsh family. These attacks confirm the criminal disregard of international law and the rights of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip by the IOF.
According to information collected today by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, IOF warplanes fired a missile on Saturday, 12 July 2014, at approximately , into a group of men in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, north of Gaza City. Eight people were killed in the attack and one was critically injured. Some eyewitnesses and survivors of the attack informed Al Mezan that the missile hit near a group of men who were sitting in front of the Al-Malash house near the Beer Al-Saba' mosque in the same neighborhood as people were still leaving the mosque following the prayer in the mosque.
The victims have been identified as:
- Azmi Mahmoud Obaid, 51;
- Sulaiman Sa'eed Obaid; 56;
- Mostafa Mohammed Enaya, 58;
- Ghassan Ahmad Al Masri, 25;
- Mohammed Khalil Deeb, 30;
- Rif'at Yousef Amer, 32;
- Ratib Sobhi Al Saifi, 22; and
- Nidal Mohammed Al MAlash, 33.
The bodies of Deeb and Amer were found in the opposite street as they sustained injuries from shrapnel from the missile.
Al Mezan spoke to neighbors and eyewitnesses who reported that the victims, along with other friends, usually spent time sitting together in front of the house in the evenings. The Al Malash house belongs to the nephew of Mr. Ismail Haniyeh, the Deputy Chair of the Political Bureau of the Hamas Movement.
According to Kamal Zaqout, 19, who lives near the Al Malash house, the attack was sudden as there were no clashes or military activities in the area. Zaquot was the first to go to the scene of the attack and was surprised to see the victims. "These people always sit here, we see them sitting here to talk in front of this house frequently," he informed Al Mezan, adding that "they were a group of friends and cousins spending time together". Hazem Al Madhoun, who lives in the house just opposite, told Al Mezan that he arrived at the scene of attack and found the men scattered on the ground and dying. He confirmed that the group of friends met frequently. A few neighbors gathered around and brought the victims to the hospital in their cars, he informed Al Mezan.
At around the same time, the IOF artillery shelled a factory for soft drinks next to the food stores of UNRWA, which are located in the industrial zone east of Gaza City. The shelling sparked large fires in the factory and destroyed it completely.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the IOF attacks that fails to comply with the basic principles of distinction and proportionality. Attacks on civilians and civilian property are grave breaches of international humanitarian law. Attacks on alleged military targets must be proportionate and evade civilians.
In light of the IOF's continued unlawful attacks, Al Mezan insists that the international community intervene to halt the attacks and to secure protection for the civilian population in Gaza. Those who ordered and/or perpetrated such attacks must be brought to justice.
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