Since Wednesday evening, 14 November 2012, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated military attacks on the Gaza Strip. They first extra-judicially executed the leader of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) and his bodyguard. This attack was followed by a series of aerial, ground and sea attacks on civilian and paramilitary targets throughout the Gaza Strip. As a result of these attacks, 11 Palestinians, including 4 civilians (two children, a woman and an old man) have been killed and 115 others, including 26 children and 25 women, have been wounded. IOF have escalated the situation in spite of the quiet atmosphere that followed a previous wave of escalation. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is following up developments of this new offensive on the Gaza Strip.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 15:45 on Wednesday, 14 November 2012, an Israeli fighter jet fired a missile at a civilian car, a grey Kia, which was traveling near the Public Service Hospital in Gaza City. The leader of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas), Ahmed Saeed Khalil al-Jaabari, 52, and his bodyguard, Mohammed Hamed Subhi al-Hams, 28, were traveling in the area. The car was completely destroyed and al-Jaabari and his bodyguard were killed. A number of nearby houses were also damaged.
Half an hour later, an Israeli warplane fired 3 missiles at a house belonging to Salah Jalal Arafat in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. The house and a neighboring one belonging to Arafat’s brother were destroyed. One of Arafat’s children, 5-year-old Ranana, was killed and another two children and two women were wounded.
At the same time, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a house belonging to Ali Nemer al-Masharawi in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Two members of the family (a woman and a toddler) were killed: Hiba Aadel Fadel al-Masharawi, 19, and Omar Jihad al-Masharawi, 11 months. Additionally, a child from the same family was wounded.
At approximately 19:30, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a house belonging to Rasheed Abu Shibak in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of Gaza City. The house and nearby houses were heavily damaged and 18 Palestinian civilians were wounded.
Later, IOF launched a series of airstrikes at various areas in Gaza City, wounding 31 Palestinian civilians, including 8 women and 16 children.
In the northern Gaza Strip, IOF have launched 42 airstrikes, most of which have targeted space areas, training sites, populated areas and members of the Palestinian resistance. As a result of these attacks, two members of the Palestinian resistance have been killed while they were traveling on a motorcycle: Essam Mahmoud Ahmed Abu al-Meiza, 19; and Mohammed Ibrahim Hani al-Kaseeh, 18. At the time of writing this press release, at approximately 11:40, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a group of the Palestinian resistance in the southeast of Beit Lahia, killing two members of the group: Rani Mahmoud Hammad, 33; and Khaled Abdul Rahman Abu al-Nasser, 27. A third member was also wounded. Additionally, 49 Palestinian civilians, including 13 children and 11 women, have been wounded, one of them is in a serious condition. Seven of the wounded, including 4 women and a child, were wounded while they were inside their house which was destroyed when a missile landed near it in Beit Lahia. Dozens of houses have been also damaged.
In the central Gaza Strip, IOF launched 12 airstrikes targeting agricultural areas and training sites. As a result of these attacks, an old man, Mahmoud Hamad Mahmoud Abu Sawawin, 61, was killed by shrapnel throughout the body, and his two sons were wounded while they were on their agricultural plot adjacent to a country house that was bombarded by IOF in al-Nussairat refugee camp. Additionally, 3 civilians, including a woman, were injured. In other attacks, 3 civilians, including a woman and her child, were wounded in the east of al-Boreij refugee camp.
In Khan Yunis, IOF have launched 11 airstrikes and two artillery shelling attacks targeting space areas and sites of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades. As a result of these attacks, 3 members of the Palestinian resistance were killed in al-Manara neighborhood in the south of the town: Habes Hassan Awadh Mismeh, 29; Wael Haidar Saeed al-Ghalban, 26; and Hisham Mohammed Ahmed al-Ghalban, 26. Additionally, 3 Palestinian civilians, including a woman and two children, were wounded while they were near their houses in al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Yunis.
In Rafah, IOF have launched 10 airstrikes targeting space areas located near houses. They have also shelled Gaza International Airport, southeast of the town. As a result of these attacks, a woman and a child were wounded while they were inside their houses in the south of the town.
PCHR reiterates condemnation and expresses utmost concern for these crimes, and
1- Warn of deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in light of this new Israeli military escalation and the tightened closure.
2- Calls upon the international community to act immediately to stop these crimes, and renews the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure that it is respected at all times, and their responsibilities under Article 146 to pursue perpetrators of serious violations of the Convention, which are determined in Article 147, which lists violations of the Convention amounting to war crimes.