Ramallah, January 27, 2023—A Palestinian boy succumbed to injuries yesterday that were sustained in an Israeli airstrike last August in the southern Gaza Strip.
Nayef Khaled Nayef Al-Odat, then nine years old, was exiting a grocery store in the village of Abasan Al-Jadida, east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip around 6:30 p.m. on August 6, 2022, when an Israeli warplane fired a missile that struck an agricultural area about 50 meters (164 feet) away, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Shrapnel from the missile struck Nayef in the upper part of his head. Nayef was first transferred to the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis before being transferred to Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem after three days. Nayef succumbed to his wounds around 2 p.m. at Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis on January 26 at 10 years old.
“Israeli forces routinely use explosive weapons near civilian areas with complete disregard for the indiscriminate effects,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP. “Months after the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian children continue to bear the brunt. There is no safe place for Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip.”
Israeli forces killed nine Palestinian children in five separate airstrikes between August 5–7, according to information collected by DCIP. Five Palestinian children were killed by misfired rockets from a Palestinian armed group, and DCIP field researchers continue to investigate two other incidents where four Palestinian children were killed.
The Israeli military launched airstrikes across the Gaza Strip on August 5, killing at least 44 people and injuring at least 350, according to Al Jazeera. A ceasefire went into effect at 11:30 p.m. on August 7. The Israeli military offensive came just days after Israeli forces arrested a senior Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank city of Jenin and killed 16-year-old Dirar Riyad Lufti Al-Haj Saleh, also in Jenin, who was protesting the Israeli military’s incursion into Jenin refugee camp.
International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. Israel as the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence.
Israeli authorities have imposed a closure policy against the Gaza Strip since 2007 by strictly controlling and limiting the entry and exit of individuals; maintaining harsh restrictions on imports including food, construction materials, fuel, and other essential items; as well as prohibiting exports. Israel continues to maintain complete control over the Gaza Strip’s borders, airspace, and territorial waters.