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Nassim and Bisan Al-Maqousi
sustained shrapnel wounds from the attack

 

On Sunday, 07 October 2012, at approximately 5.30pm, Israel’s
forces launched 2 missiles targeting 2 men on a motorbike as they were passing
by Taha Hussain Elementary School in the Al-Brazil neighborhood of Rafah, in
the southern Gaza Strip. Subsequently, 1 of the targeted men died of
shrapnel wounds, while the other had one of his legs amputated, according to
medical sources. 8 civilian bystanders, including 4 children and 1 woman,
were also wounded in the attack. Israeli Occupation Forces often use airstrikes
for extra judicial execution of some Palestinians, including suspected members
of armed groups in densely-populated areas of the Gaza Strip. Israel
refers to these as ‘targeted killings’. However, on many occasions such attacks
also injure and kill civilians who are in the vicinity of the
target. Sabrin Al-Maqousi (23), and her 2 children, Bisan (1 month) and
Nassim (2), were wounded in the attack. Her cousin, Jehad Al-Qatrous (27),
was also wounded in the same attack. 

 

Sabrin lives in
Jabalia but she was with her children, visiting her family in Rafah, when the
attack happened.  She recalls: “My son
Nassim was sitting at the entrance of the house when the missiles were launched.  I rushed to bring him inside and found that
he had already been injured by shrapnel. 
He just kept saying, “There is some blood on me, there is some blood on
me.”  Some people came and put him in a
car to take him to hospital.  I was
trying to calm my other baby down when I noticed that she was also bleeding
from her head.  Both of the children were
then rushed to the hospital.  It was only
after they left, that I felt a sharp pain in my leg.  I had also been hit by shrapnel, and was
bleeding.  My cousin, who lives next door,
was also injured, and we were both rushed to hospital in an ambulance.”

 

The casualties
were first taken to Abu-Yousif Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah.  The hospital was overcrowded, so they were
all transferred to the European hospital, where they received treatment for
their injuries: “They removed the shrapnel from our bodies, and the baby and I
were discharged after about 5 hours.  However,
Nassim was admitted because his wounds were more serious.  My cousin had shrapnel lodged in his legs.  One piece of shrapnel was removed, but the
doctor said that the other one requires surgery.  He also temporarily lost his sense of hearing
because one of his ears had been injured.”

 

 Bisan Al-Maqousi (1 month), who
was injured by shrapnel during the attack

 

Sabrin fears for the safety and security of her children and her entire
family.  She is both distressed and
worried about future attacks and the consequences for her family and loved
ones:
“When
I came back home, I kept crying.  I woke
up several times that night, fearing that something else was going to happen.  I was both angry and sad about what had
happened to my family.  We had just come
to visit my family and have some fun with them, but we ended up wounded.  My children are not even old enough to
understand what happened to them.  Nassim
is only aware that he was hurt by Israel’s forces and nothing else beyond that.  He cannot walk around as he used to before,
and he is scared.  I am also really
scared by what happened and how sudden it was. 
What if it had been worse?  Our
entire lives would have been changed by it.”

 

Since the attack,
Sabrin says that her constant hope has been for peace and to feel safe once
more: “When I saw my children wounded and being taken away, I became
psychologically affected.  It was almost
as if I wasn’t there.  You only expect
such things to happen on TV, but not to you and your family.  I witnessed Operation Cast Lead and I have
seen attacks on the tunnels in Rafah, but none of those things scared me as
much as seeing my own children hurt.  It
is completely unacceptable for children to be wounded in this manner.  I really hope for a change to the situation
in Gaza.  Nobody should have to go
through this and especially no child should have to go through this.”

 

The direct targeting of a civilian object constitutes a war crime, as
codified in Article 8(2) (b) (ii) of the Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court.  Similarly, under Article
53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the destruction of private property is
prohibited unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.  Intentionally launching an indiscriminate
attack constitutes a war crime as defined in Article 8 (2) (b) of the Rome
Statute of the ICC.  Furthermore,
according to the principle of proportionality, which is codified in Article 51
(5) (b) of Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions, an attack that may
be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians,
damage to civilian objects or a combination thereof is considered excessive in
relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.