Today at dawn, 09 August 2018, Israeli forces killed an 8-month pregnant woman along with her 1.5-year-old child and wounded her husband after targeting their house by a missile in al-Salqa Valley village in the center of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces escalated their attack against the Gaza Strip since yesterday evening until today’s morning hours. Dozens of missiles were launched by the Israeli warplanes at many agricultural lands and sites belonging to Palestinian armed groups, causing severe damage to them, other nearby facilities and houses. Moreover, 2 civilians were wounded and dozens of the Gaza Strip residents sustained bruises and panicked. The Israeli forces also targeted a civilian car carrying 2 members of the armed resistance groups. As a result, one of them was killed while the other one was wounded in the northern Gaza Strip.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 01:30 on today, 09 August 2018, an Israeli missile targeted a 160-square-meter house belonging to Abdul Hakim Ibrahim Abu ‘Amrah (42). The house has been rented by Mohammed Abu Khammash and his family from 5 months. The missile made a hole 80 centimeters to 1 meter in diameter. As a result, Enas Suleiman Ahmed Abu Khammash (23), who is in her ninth month of pregnancy, and her child Bayan Mohammed Kamel Abu Khammash (a year and a half) were killed after their bodies turned into pieces. Moreover, Enas’s husband, Mohammed Kamal Salem Abu Khammash (28), sustained shrapnel wounds throughout his body while the family was sleeping in the house living room. The targeted house also sustained partial damage. Furthermore, al-Taqwa and al-Eman Mosque, which is adjacent to the abovementioned house from the eastern side, sustained damage. It should be noted that there is a 6-meter-wide street separating between the house and the mosque sustained partial damage.
PCHR is extremely concerned by this new Israeli forces’ escalation; and:
- Reiterates condemnation of these war crimes, which are a continuation of a continuous series of Israeli war crimes in the OPT, reflecting IOF disregard for civilian lives. The Centre views these crimes as reprisals and a form of collective punishment for Palestinians in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949).
- Holds Israel fully responsible for the safety of Palestinian civilians under all circumstances. According to International Law, the presence of armed resistance in any form does not justify disproportionate and excessive force. In addition, International Law stipulates differentiating between civilian and military targets.
- Calls upon the international community to take immediate actions to put an end to such crimes and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, noting that these grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the occupied territories.