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Press release:

 

Two people killed and three injured by explosion

that destroyed a residential building in

Al-Remal neighborhood in Gaza City;

PCHR offices also severely damaged in the blast

Ref.,: 21/2001

Date: May 1, 2001

 At approximately 17:00 local time on 30 April, 2001, a massive explosion completely destroyed a two story residential building adjacent to the building which houses the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) offices, located on Omar El-Mukhtar Street in the al-Remal area of Gaza City.  Two were killed and three were injured in the blast.  Hamdi Salim Al-Madhoon, 18, from Gaza City and Mohammed Abdul Karim Abu Khaled, 17, for Gaza City were killed in the blast. 

 Abu Khaled’s mother, ‘Afaaf Sa’id Abu Khaled, 48, who was in the home at the time of the blast, was injured in the head and is now at Shifa’ hospital in stable condition.  ‘Abdul Karim Mohammed Al-Madhoon, the 21-year-old relative of the first victim, was severely wounded by shrapnel throughout the body and is now in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Shifa’ hospital. 

 The force of the blast ripped the steel doors from five stores and threw them across the street; rubble from the blast was thrown at least 20 meters in all directions. A ten-year-old child, Khalil Na’im ‘Afaanah,  was wounded by the flying doors and rubble from the blast and is now in critical condition in the ICU at Shifa’ hospital.  

The blast, which originated in a part of the building next to the PCHR building, also severely damaged PCHR offices  (See photos).  Fortunately, the PCHR staff had left for the day and no one from the PCHR staff was wounded.  The PCHR offices were damaged as follows:

 -The walls adjacent to the destroyed building were damaged.

-The stairwell adjacent to the destroyed building was damaged.

-The pillars on the first floor of the PCHR building were severely damaged.  These pillars support the Legal Aid Unit offices on the second floor.

-All the windows facing the street on the second floor of the PCHR offices were damaged.  One window on the third floor and a few windows in other parts of the  building were also damaged.  The blast shattered the glass, damaged the blinds, and damaged the mechanism that operates the blinds.

-The ceiling was damaged.

-The stone countertops in the PCHR kitchen were broken.

-Rubble from the blast, damaged the satellite dish on the roof of the PCHR building.

-PCHR’s 12-ton generator, located on the first floor next to the wall adjacent to the destroyed building, was thrown 7 meters by the blast  and completely destroyed.

-Electrical systems and phone lines were damaged in the blast.  From the time of the blast until midday today, PCHR lacked electricity and use of the phone lines.

 Fortunately, the generator absorbed most of the force of the blast, preventing the complete destruction of a home in the ground floor of the PCHR building.  One room of the home was damaged.  The family, who were at home at the time of the blast, were not injured.

 According to by-standers, Israeli helicopters were seen in the area at the time of the blast.  This does not exclude the possibility of Israeli occupation forces’ involvement in the explosion, targeting Hamas activists through activating a bomb by remote control. Immediately following the bast, Civilian Defense forces and Palestinian police arrived to the area to begin rescue and evacuation operations. The same evening, at approximately 22:00 local time, another explosion occurred in Ramallah, killing three, including two brothers, ages four and seven.

 Normal functioning of PCHR offices has ceased and will unlikely resume in the next few days due to the destruction and damage.   PCHR staff is working tirelessly to repair the damage and overcome these difficulties in order to resume normal operations as soon as possible. 

 

“END”