Houses Destroyed Over the Heads of Residents in Gaza

هل عباس رئيساً لشعب فلسطين أم أنه مستشرق ضعيف أم سفيرا لإسرائيل في فلسطين؟؟

albatshHouses Destroyed over the Heads of Residents and Evacuation Orders in North Gaza – Al Mezan: 167 killed, including 34 children and 27 women, over 1001 injured; including 227 children and 183 women, and 869 houses destroyed, including 187 completely by day 7.

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) military attacks on the Gaza Strip intensified its attacks on houses and other civilian objects on the seventh day of its ‘Operation Protective Edge’. IOF’s airstrikes targeted houses and destroyed them on the heads of their residents without any warning. in a vicious crime, the IOF attacked the house of Al Batsh family in Gaza City, killing 17 people including 3 women and 3 children. Al Mezan condemns these crimes, which seems to aim to serve as deterrence to persons allegedly affiliated by Palestinian armed resistance groups by annihilating their families and destroying their houses. Moreover, the IOF dropped leaflets ordering most the residents of the North Gaza district to evacuate. People living in 18 neighborhoods also received pre-recorded phone calls directing them to evacuate to Jablia town. By 3pm today, about 6,500 people moved to schools opened as shelters by the United Nations.

gaza childAs of 1pm today, Sunday 13 July 2014, the number of Palestinian casualties resulted from IOF attacks, and verified by the Al Mezan, has risen to 167; including 34 children and 27 women. According to Al Mezan’s initial investigations 126 (i.e. 75.4%) of the victims are civilians. The rest are known to be affiliated with Palestinian factions, but in most of the cases there is no information that suggests they were taking active part in any hostilities. Most of them were killed in attacks on civilian targets. Moreover, at least 1,001 other people were injured during the same period; of whom at least 227 were children and 183 women. 869 houses were destroyed or damaged during this period; of which 187 were destroyed completely as the IOF directly and deliberately attacked 207 of them. IOF attacks also damaged or destroyed 21 schools, 30 mosques, an ambulance centre, 13 NGO offices, 20 fishing boats and a hospital. Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns the IOF’s attacks on civilians and civilian objects and calls on international community to act swiftly to stop them.

According to the initial investigations by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, IOF warplanes fired two missiles at the house of Majid Subhi Al Batsh, 50, in the At Tuffah neighborhood east of Gaza City. The attack destroyed the house completely, along with two adjacent houses that belong to Majid’s three brothers, No’man and Alaa’ and Issam.

Seventeen people were killed in this attack, including six children and three women. Another sixteen were injured, of whom three women and three children. Four of the injured are in critical condition. All the victims are from the Al Batsh family. Major General Tayseer Al Batsh is among the injured. He sustained critical wounds as he was visiting his cousins when the attack took place.

Al Mezan has identified the names of the casualties as follows:

– Majid Subhi Al Batsh, 50;

– Khalid Majid Al Batsh, 20; (Majid’s son)

– Manar Majid Al Batsh, 13; (Majid’s son)

– Ibrahim Majid Al Batsh, 18; (Majid’s son)

– Jalal Subhi Al Batsh, 26;

– Mahmoud Majid Al Batsh, 20; ; (Majid’s son)

– Marwa Majid Al Batsh, 7; (Majid’s daughter)

– Baha’ Majid Al Batsh, 28; ; (Majid’s son)

– Amal Hassan Al Batsh, 49; ; (Majid’s wife)

– Samah Alaa’ Al Batsh, 20; (Baha’s pregnant wife)

– Amal Alaa’ Al Batsh, 1.5; (Samah’s daughter);

– Nahidh Na’eem Al batsh, 41, (visiting his cousins)

– Aziza Yousef Al Batsh, 59; (next door neighbor)

– Qusai Issam Al Batsh, 12; (next door neighbor)

– Mohammed Issam Al Batsh, 17; (next door neighbor)

– Yehia Alaa’ Al Batsh, 18; (Samah’s brother)

– Anas Alaa’ Al Batsh, 7, (Samah’s brother).

According to a testimony given to Al Mezan by Ahmad Nu’man Al Batsh, 26, who was injured in the attack, and who lives next to his uncle Majid’s house, he and his family were in their house watching the news at 10pm. His cousin, Tayseer, came to visit. Ahmad said, ‘my cousins always gather in one of our three homes when the electricity is on… we were 17 in our house; men, women and children’. Ahmed suggested that they pray the ‘Isha prayer together, which they did. ‘Just after we finished the prayer, there was a huge explosion and I fell on the ground hardly able to breath,’ he said. ‘There was screaming around me in the dark and as I tried to find my way, I was touching bodies and parts of bodies laid on the ground’.

This attack comes in the context of targeted attacks on houses by the IOF; often with residents inside them and frequently without any warning. Attacks that target civilian objects are prohibited under international law and constitute war crimes, with or without warnings. Al Mezan condemns this attack with the strongest terms and calls for the prosecution of those who ordered or perpetrated the attack.

At approximately 1 am on Tuesday 13 July 2014, IOF aircraft fired three missiles at the house at the house of Subhi Al Helu, 62, which is located in the An-Nazzaz Street in the Sheja’iya neighborhood in the eats of Gaza city. The house and a neighboring house owned by Al Helu’s brother were destroyed completely. Al Helu’s mother, Hejaziya, 83, was also killed, as she was unable to leave the house before the attack. IOF had called the I’tees family, who live near the Al Helu’s and informed them of the impending attack; however, the old woman was unable to make it out in time.

At approximately 5:30 am on Sunday, 13 July 2014, Israeli aircrafts fired two missiles targeting Al Madakhat (the Pumps) Street, parallel to Salah Ad-Din Street in Az-Zawaida village. As a result, the attack left a big hole and a number of houses were damaged including the house of Su’ad Ahmed Abdel Aziz Abu Harb, 60. Her asbestos-roofed house is about 250 square meters in area and is about 20 meters away from the attack. As a result, one woman, Rwaida Ahmed Abu Harb, 35, was killed and another two women and a man were wounded: Hanan Ahmed Abu Harbm 27, who sustained wounds and suffered internal bleeding; Sanaa Ahmed Abu Harb, 60, who sustained fractures in the chest; and Marwan Ahmed Abu Harb, 28, who sustained fractures in the shoulder.

According to a testimony given to Al Mezan by Mohammed Abu Harb, 32, the sound of the explosion and the falling of debris on them woke the family up. When they checked what happened, they found out that the room which is near the street, where his sisters sleep was severely damaged. His sister Rwaida was bleeding. They called the ambulance but it could not reach the house due to the large hole in the street. They carried her on a blanket to the Salah Ad-Deen Street, which is 200 meters away from their home. Rwaida was pronounced dead at the Al Aqsa Hospital. Another child, Yamen Riyad Al Hamedi, 4, also sustained critical injuries in the head and right hand.

At approximately 5:00 am on the same day, Israeli drones fired three missiles at the house of Ibrahim Shehda An Najjar, which is located near the As-Sultan Tower in Jabaliya in northern Gaza. As a result, Hussam Ibrahim An-Najjar, 15, was killed while he was trying to leave the house. The house was severely damaged and three adjacent houses were partially damaged, as a result. According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, the family members started to leave the house after a second missile fell on their house; believed to be ‘warning missiles’. Hussam was a bit late and he was just leaving the house when a third ‘warning missile’ hit him.

At approximately 7:30 am on the same day, Israeli drones fired two missiles targeting the house of Ahmed Hassan Al Awdat, 36, which is located in Az-Za’faran area in Al Maghazi refugee camp. Few seconds later, an Israeli F16 fired a heavy missile at the house causing its total destruction. According to information available to Al Mezan, Ahmed and his wife left the house while his family, who live in an adjacent house, were still trying to leave their house when the attack took place. The two houses were destroyed. Some of the family member could not leave the house; especially women and children, and one women, Laila Hassan Al A’wadat, 37, was killed and three others were injured. Al Mezan has identified their names as follows:

• Fatma Suliman Al A’wadat, 65, critical injury in the head and fractures in the chest and pelvis;

• ‘Abla Hasan Al A’wdat; and

• Her son Yaser Riyadh An-Nabaheen, 14.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemns the IOF’s serious violations of international law, particularly the frequent violations of the basic principles of international humanitarian law, which dictate that armed attacks distinguish between civilian and targets, use of proportionate force, and taking effective precautions to evade civilians and their property. The deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian object are serious crimes. The use of missiles as means of warning and not giving time for civilians to leave do not exempt the IOF of the responsibility for the high number of civilian casualties.

Those attacks, particularly those dropping tons of explosives on houses and other civilian structures, indicate the persistent Israeli disrespect of international humanitarian law. Al Mezan therefore calls on international community to act to stop attacks on civilians without any further delay. International community must intervene to ensure that the attacks on houses, mosques, and NGO, are investigated and prosecuted as per the standards provided by international law. Al Mezan also urges international community; especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to act swiftly and resolutely to provide effective protection for the civilian population under Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip.

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