Ref: 02/2009

Date: 03 January  2009

Time: 14:00 GMT

  

IOF Offensive on the Gaza Strip Continues for the 8th Consecutive Day;

The Number of Palestinians Killed Rises to 372, Mostly Civilians, Including 75 Children and 16 Women, and the Number of House Bombarded Mounts to 73

IOF have continued their offensive on the Gaza Strip for the 8th consecutive day, causing more deaths and casualties among Palestinian civilians, especially children. IOF warplanes have launched more strikes against several civilian facilities in the context of the most aggressive war against the Gaza Strip since it was occupied in 1967. Facts on the ground indicate that all population of the Gaza Strip are targeted and there is a clear intention to destroy all aspects of life and means of subsistence through the use of the most destructive arsenal and the psychological war through leaflets dropped from the air demanding Palestinian civilians to leave their areas of residence. PCHR has closely followed up the developments of the IOF offensive on the Gaza Strip. Development in the past 24 hours have been:

 

Northern Gaza Strip

·      At approximately 14:00 on Friday, 2 January 2009, medical sources in an Egyptian hospital declared that Bilal Suhail Ghabayen, 19, died from a wound he had sustained on 29 December 2008, when IOF warplanes attacked a crowd of Palestinian civilians near a workshop belonging to the Ghabayen family. Two civilians were killed in the attack while they were trying to vacate the workshop.

·      At approximately 19:25 on the same day, an IOF warplane fired a missile at Sami Ibrahim Lubbad, a member of the Palestinian resistance, near Sheikh Zayed housing project in Beit Lahia town. He was instantly killed and a civilian bystander was wounded.

·      At approximately 03:45 on Saturday, 3 January 2009, an IOF warplane fired a missile at the American School to the west of Beit Lahia town. The school was destroyed and one of its guards, 25-year-old Salem Hamad Abu Qulaiq, was killed.

·      At approximately 04:10 also on Saturday, IOF warplanes bombarded a 2-storey house belonging to Rezeq Abu Ghubait in Tal al-Za’tar neighborhood in the north of Jabalya. The house, which had been already evacuated, was destroyed and a number of neighboring house were heavily damaged. No casualties were reported.

 

Gaza City

·      At approximately 09:10 on Friday, 2 January 2008, an IOF warplane fired a missile at a bird farm belonging to Zaki Mahmoud Ja’rour in al-Yarmouk area in the center of Gaza City. As a result, 16-year-old Christine Wadee’ al-Turk, whose house is near the bird farm, died from a heart attack.

·      At approximately 13:20 also on Friday, IOF tanks positioned to the east of al-Shoja’eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, fired a number of shells at Palestinian houses in the neighborhood. As a result, 10-year-old Hamada Ibrahim Musabbeh was seriously wounded when he was near his house. His feet were amputated. An hour later, he was pronounced dead.

·      At approximately 13:30, IOF warplanes bombarded a house belonging to Hamdi Jom’a al-Dardassawi in al-Tawahin Street in al-Shoja’eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. As a result, the house was heavily damaged and the owner’s daughter, 13-year-old Sojoud, was wounded.

·      At approximately 22:10 also on Friday, IOF warplanes bombarded a 4-storey house belonging to Ya’qoub Mohammed Dababesh, in which 20 people live, in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in the north of Gaza City. The house was destroyed, a number of neighboring houses were damaged and 8 Palestinian civilians were wounded, including a paramedic, 25-year-old ‘Eid Ramadan Ahmed, who was attempting to evacuate an old man from a house in the area.

·      At approximately 03:00 on Saturday, 3 January 2009, an IOF warplane fired a missile at Mamdouh ‘Omar al-Jammal, 25, a leader of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of Gaza City. He was seriously wounded. He died from his wound later.

·      At approximately 03:30 also on Saturday, an IOF warplane bombarded a training site of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas in SheikhRadwan neighborhood. No casualties were reported.

 

Central Gaza Strip

·      At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 2 January 2009, an IOF drone fired 2 missiles at a 5-storey house belonging to the heirs of Mohammed ‘Abdul Hadi ‘Aaqel, in which 62 people lie, in al-Nussairat refugee camp. The house was damaged. At approximately 16:00, IOF warplanes bombarded the house again. The upper thee floors were destroyed and 12 neighboring houses were damaged.

·      At approximately 13:55 also on Friday, an IOF warplane fired a missile at a house belonging to the al-Khaldi family in al-Nussairat refugee camp. The house was damaged. Two hours layer, IOF warplanes bombarded the house again. The house was destroyed and a number of neighboring houses were damaged.

·      At approximately 16:30 also on Friday, an IOF warplane fired 2 missiles at a spae area in Juhor al-Dik area, southeast of Gaza City. As a result, Tahani Kamal ‘Abdul ‘Aziz Abu ‘Aayesh, 23, was killed when she was near her house. Another 6 civilians, including a child, were also wounded. Additionally, 3 houses were heavily damaged.

·      At approximately 16:40 also on Friday, an IOF warplane bombarded al-Zahraa’ Bridge, which links al-Zahraa’ town with al-Nussairat refugee camp. Majed Khalil al-Bardawil, 30, who was traveling in a civilian car in the area, was seriously wounded. He was later pronounced dead.

·      At approximately 17:00 also on Friday, an IOF warplane bombarded the building of Public Works Department to the southwest of Gaza City. The building was destroyed.

·      At approximately 18:00 also on Friday, an IOF drone fired a missile at a civilian car in the west of al-Nussairat refugee camp. The driver and a passing civilian were wounded.

·      At approximately 19:50, IOF gunboats bombarded Palestinian houses in al-Sawarha area in the west of al-Nussairat refugee camp. Three greenhouses belonging to the Shallat clan were destroyed. The area has been repeatedly bombarded.

·      At approximately 20:00 also on Friday, an IOF warplane bombarded an agricultural store on a tract of land belonging to ‘Aabed Abu Mahadi in the west of al-Nussairat refugee camp. The store was destroyed.

·      At approximately 09:00 on Saturday, 3 January 2009, IOF gunboats bombarded Palestinian houses in al-Sawarha area in the west of al-Nussairat refugee camp. A Palestinian civilian was wounded and 2 houses were damaged.

 

Khan Yunis

·      At approximately 13:50 on Friday, 2 January 2009, an IOF warplane fired a missile at 3 Palestinian children (2 brothers and their cousin), who were playing on a branch road in al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis. The three children were killed:

1.      Mohammed Eyad ‘Abed Rabbu al-Astal, 12;

2.      ‘Abed Rabbu Eyad ‘Abed Rabbu al-Astal, 8; and

3.      ‘Abdul Sattar Waleed al-Astal, 10.

According to a relative of the children, no gunmen were present in the area, which is nearly 4 kilometers away from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, when the IOF warplane attacked the children.

·      At approximately 14:10 also on Friday, IOF warplanes bombarded a house belonging to he Abu Mousa family in Khan Yunis refugee camp. The house was damaged and 5 of its residents, including 2 women, were wounded.

·      On Friday evening, medical sources at an Egyptian hospital declared that Hammad ‘Ouda Abu al-Fita, 34, a member of the civil defense, died from a previous wound. Abu al-Fita, his brother and a relative of him were wounded when they attempted to rescue 14-year-old Sami Tarraf al-Astal, as IOF warplanes bombarded a space area near their houses. Al-Astal and another civilian were killed, and the three civilians who attempted to rescue the child were wounded.

·      At approximately 13:40 also on Friday, IOF warplanes bombarded a police station at Bani Suhila intersection in the east of Khan Yunis. A passing Palestinian civilian was wounded and a secondary school in the area was damaged.

·      At approximately 00:10 on Saturday, 3 January 2009, IOF warplanes attacked a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance in the east of Khan Yunis. No casualties were reported.  

·      At approximately 07:00 also on Saturday, IOF warplanes dropped a box of leaflets ordering Palestinian civilians to evacuate their houses. The leaflets state:

“To residents of the area: Due to terrorist actions launched by terrorists from your area of residence against the State of Israel, the Israeli military has been forced to immediately respond and act in your area of residence. For your safety, you are required to leave the area immediately.”

 

Rafah

·      At approximately 13:30 on Friday, 2 January 2009, IOF warplanes bombarded a site of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas in Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in the west of Rafah. No casualties were reported.

·      At approximately 13:40 also on Friday, IOF warplanes bombarded a civil defense station at the beach. The station was destroyed, but no casualties were reported.

·      At approximately 14:20 also on Friday, IOF warplanes dropped leaflets throughout Rafah, demanding the population to cooperate with them to get rid of Hamas.

·      At approximately 16:20 also on Friday, IOF warplanes started to bombard the remainders of Gaza International Airport in the east of Rafah. The bombardment continued sporadically until 00:45 on Saturday, 3 January 2009.

In light of crimes committed by IOF against the Palestinian civilian population and property in the Gaza Strip, PCHR:

1)      Condemns these crimes, which are part of a series of continuous crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) with total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, considering them a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in violation of article 33 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

2)      Holds Israel responsible for the lives of Palestinian civilians in all circumstances. Under the international law, the existence of armed resistance does not in any case justify the use of such excessive force disproportionately and indiscriminately.

3)      Warns that the lives of Palestinian civilians are endangered in light of threats vowed by Israeli political and military officials to expand military operations against the population of the Gaza Strip.

4)      Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention, Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to fulfill their obligation under article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, as well as their obligation under article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention, as such breaches constitute war crimes according to article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).