Ref: 68/2010


 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
calls upon the government in the Gaza Strip to investigate the circumstances of
an explosion that occurred in Deir al-Balah refugee camp in the central Gaza
Strip, which left 58 injuries, including 13 children and 9 women, 7 houses
uninhabitable and 30 others damaged. PCHR calls further for publishing the results of such
investigations. 

 

According to investigations conducted by PCHR,
and testimonies of eyewitnesses, at approximately 01:20 on Monday, 02 August
2010, a heavy explosion rocked Deir al-Balah refugee camp in the central Gaza
Strip. The explosion occurred in a
100-square-meter, uninhabited house. As
a result of the explosion, 58 Palestinians living in the surroundings,
including 13 children and 9 women, were injured, and a pregnant woman
miscarried. 

 

Additionally, 7 houses were destroyed and
rendered uninhabitable, and another 30 ones were damaged. According to eyewitnesses, a red glow came
from the house before an explosion rocked the area. After the explosion, activists of the
Palestinian resistance arrived in the area and surrounded the affected
house. The Palestinian police also
arrived in the area and prevented people from reaching the house. Resistance activists collected from the house
shrapnel of the explosive devices and transported them in a car.

 

The ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing
of Hamas) issued a press release on Tuesday morning, 03 August 2010, stating
that: "We confirm that what happened… resulted from a Zionist security
operation intended to assassinate field leaders in the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades." It further stated that "such ground
targeting is part of Zionist operations."

 

In light of information available to PCHR through
field investigations, and according to testimonies of eyewitnesses that saw
transportation of bombs from the house, there are reasons to suspect that the
explosion was coming from inside the house and occurred for no apparent reason,
similar to some incidents in the past. Internal explosion occurred in the past in houses amidst densely
populated areas, because of mistakes in manufacturing, bad storage of bombs or
other reasons, which caused many fatalities among civilians and destroyed
houses.

 

Accordingly:

 

1) PCHR calls for conducting a serious and comprehensive investigation
into this incident and publishing the results. 

2) PCHR is concerned over continued storage of explosive devices by
Palestinian resistance groups in civilian populated areas, which threatens the
lives of Palestinian civilians, and constitutes a violation of international
human rights law and humanitarian law. Such acts must be stopped, as they become more serious in light of
threats declared by the Israeli military forces.