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Ref: 50/2015

 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its deep
concern over the deaths of 4 civilians, including a child, and injury of 40
others, including 18 children and 4 women, as well partial damage into 20
houses, due to an internal explosion in a house in Rafah in the southern Gaza
Strip.  PCHR calls upon the Attorney
General in Gaza to open an investigation in the incident.

 

PCHR has conducted extensive investigations to
find out the circumstances of the incident, through taking statements of
witnesses, who were injured in the accident.

 

According to
these investigations, at approximately 10:40 on Thursday, 06 August 2015, a heavy
explosion occurred in a house belonging to Hassan Ahmed Abu Nakirah, 35, in al-Shaboura
refugee camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Before the explosion
occurred, the flames and smoke billowed from the abovementioned house, and the
Abu Nkairah and a number of his relatives and neighbors tried to put out the
fire, which continued for about seven minutes and was up about 20 meters high.
As a result, the explosion caused partial damages to 20 houses and  killed 
the house’s owner, his son Ahmed,17, and two of his relative were
identified as: Abed al-Rahman Ayman Abu Nikirah, 18, and Baker Mohammed Abu
Nikirah, 22. Additionally, 40 persons were injured, including 18 children and 4
women. The injured persons were transported to the hospital to receive medical
treatment. 

 

An eyewitness
said to PCHR: "…I was near my house in al-Shaboura camp at approximately
10:35 on Thursday morning when I saw a black smoke rising from a house that is
about 100 meters from my house.
I went
towards the place and crossed the street. Suddenly I heard a heavy explosion rocking
the area and I fell onto the ground. I then got up and went to the house. After
that, I knew that this house belongs to Hasan Abu Nikirah, and I saw 11 injured
persons, including three one who were motionless".

 

According to
another witness, he saw flames rising from the home of his neighbor Hassan Abu
Nikirah, so he went to help evacuate people from the area.

"I saw
Abu Nikirah wearing a white galabia and a wet jacket over it. I entered the
house in order to evacuate his family from it. In the meantime, I saw our
neighbor Baker Abu Nikirah trying to enter the burning house through a window
in the west wall. Then the explosion occurred. I fell onto the ground and the
place was full of smoke and dust. As a result, I was injured my shoulder and
back.

 

A third
witness added: ‘I saw fire breaking out a motorcycle and a motor cart (toktok)
in front of the house, and a heavy explosion then occurred and shook the area within
minutes. Smoke and dust spread over the area. I fell onto the ground and saw a motionless
young man was beside me. After that, I got up and ran. I saw injured persons
exiting from their houses, including women and children. When I arrived at the
main road, two youngsters put me inside a car with 5 injured, including a woman,
and they transferred me to the Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital, where I received  first medical aid. The doctors found that I sustained
injuries in my abdomen and left shoulder and
a fracture in my right hand, and my teeth were broken.

Lieutenant
colonel, Ashraf al-Sudodi, the chief of operation department in Rafah police
station, stated that the house’s owner which had exploded, works in the
military police in Gaza.
Initial investigations
conducted by the police found that the fire broke out in the house’s yard for 7
minutes, at high altitude. Moreover the explosion caused by the friction of
highly flammable materials, that  left a hole
of 2 meters depth and 6 meters width.

 

In light of
the above, PCHR;

  • Calls
    upon the Attorney General to investigate the incident in Rafah and reveal
    the results of this investigation.
  • Points
    out the seriousness of the continued storage of explosive materials by
    Palestinian armed groups in civilian populated areas, which poses a
    continuous threat to the lives of Palestinian civilians and constitutes a
    violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, and
    concerned authority take necessary measures to stop it.