Sunday, January 11, 2009

High Number of Casualties in Gaza Are Children - Al Mezan Human Rights Center, Gaza

Editor's Note: Nearly 48% of Gaza's population of 1.5 million are aged 14 and under.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Press Release -

Army is destroying homes on the heads of their residents
death toll in Gaza rises to 830, including at least 194 children and 58 women

The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued its destruction of the Gaza Strip, systematically targeting civilians and civilian objects. Air raids and artillery attacks particularly targeted homes. Several families were killed under the rubble of their homes across the Gaza Strip.

The IOF also raided a tower used by journalists and broadcast technicians in Gaza City. IOF's unilateral ceasefire, which lasts for three hours every day, is not being observed by the IOF as attacks were launched during it in several areas in the Gaza Strip.

Tens of thousands of civilians whose areas had been threatened with bombardment have left their homes seeking safety; however, little can be offered to them by the United Nations and other international humanitarian agencies, as a result of the tight closure and the IOF's attacks on humanitarian workers.

The following sections provide accounts of the consequences of IOF's attacks on the Gaza Strip's five districts between 1pm on 8 January 2009 and 2:30pm today, 10 January 2009:

1. North Gaza District:

The IOF fired at several targets during the unilaterally declared ceasefire. At 2:35pm on Thursday 8 January 2009 Israeli troops opened machine gun fire at houses in the al-Bora neighborhood, east of Beit Hanoun, killing a civilian inside his house. He was identified as 42-year-old Jamal Ahmed Nashwan. Earlier, at 1:40pm on the same day, Israeli troops opened fire at a convoy encompassing two UN armored vehicles and an ambulance. The convoy was on its way to recover the body of a maintenance worker for UNRWA [the UN agency for Palestine refugees], whom the IOF had killed inside his house four days ago. The convoy, which had international staff in it, could not recover the victim, who was identified as Samir Rashid Mohammed.

At approximately 3:40pm on Thursday 8 January 2009 medical teams recovered the bodies of four civilians who had been killed in Israeli shelling of the al-Atatra neighborhood, southwestern Beit Lahia. Medical sources said that the victims had been killed many days ago and their bodies had started to decompose. Three of them, all children, were identified as:
  • One-and-a-half-year-old girl Shahd Abu Halemeh (her body was completely burnt);
  • 17-year-old Mohammed Hekmat Abu Halemeh; and
  • 17-year-old Matar Sadallah Abu Halemeh
At approximately 3:45pm, during the ceasefire it had announced, IOF fired an artillery shell that landed near homes in eastern Jabaliya. No injuries or casualties were reported.

At approximately 5:15pm, also Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Yousef al-Qarra in Ezbet Abed-Rabu, eastern Jabaliya, and destroyed it completely. No casualties or injuries were reported.

At approximately 9:05pm Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Msallam Abu Selah, which is located in Jabaliya refugee camp, destroying it and three neighboring houses completely. Ten minutes later, IOF fired artillery shells towards homes in eastern Jabaliya.

At approximately 9:40pm Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Ahmad al-Batsh, located near Jabaliya's eastern cemetery, destroying the three-story house completely, causing damage to three neighboring houses and injuring three people.

At approximately 10:10pm Thursday, Israeli aircrafts raided the house of Ziyad al-Masri, located to the west of Beit Lahia's cemetery, destroying it. An Israeli drone had fired a warning missile at the house a few minutes earlier.

At approximately 10:30pm Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Salih al-Batsh in the middle of Jabaliya town, destroying the two-story house, damaging three other houses and injuring two people.

At approximately 11pm, also Thursday, Israeli aircraft raided the house of Abdul-Rahman Ahmad, which is located near Beit Lahia's police station. The house was completely destroyed and two neighboring houses were damaged....

[Editor's Note: Full details for the North Gaza District and three other districts can be found in the full article at the link.]

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the actions of the IOF in Gaza, many of which represent war crimes and crimes against humanity by intentionally targeting civilians by killing and starvation...

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