Ramallah, May 17, 2021—Search and rescue teams working in Gaza City today recovered the bodies of seven more children killed in Israeli airstrikes early Sunday morning, bringing the total number of Palestinian children killed in the Gaza Strip to 60 since May 10.
Since yesterday, DCIP has confirmed the deaths of seven additional children all pulled from rubble today on Al-Wehda Street in Gaza City. Israeli bombardment on May 16 killed at least 18 children, including sisters Yara Mohammad Mu'in al-Qawlaq, 9, Hala Mohammad Mu'in al-Qawlaq, 12, and Rula Mohammad Mu'in al-Qawlaq, 5; Mira Rami Riad al-Ifranji, 11, and her brothers Yazan Rami Riad al-Ifranji, 13, and Ameer Rami Riad al-Ifranji, 9; and Lana Riad Hasan Ishkantna, 5.
DCIP previously confirmed and reported the deaths of 11 children in the same attack in a news alert published on May 16.
Israeli warplanes launched dozens of airstrikes around 1 a.m. on May 16 in Gaza City, targeting residential buildings and civilian infrastructure, including roads and government ministry buildings. Two parallel streets in Gaza City, Al-Wehda Street and Egyptian Embassy Street, were targeted by Israeli warplanes with at least 25 bombs that leveled several residential buildings, DCIP reported.
Among the residential buildings targeted in the bombardment were a five-story home owned by the Abu al-Auf family that housed 10 apartments and two four-story homes owned by Ameen al-Qawlaq and Mu’in al-Qawlaq.
The death toll is expected to rise as rescue and civil defense teams continue to search for missing victims and survivors after the attack.
DCIP has documented 60 Palestinian children killed in the Gaza Strip since hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups escalated on May 10. At least two Palestinian children are missing in two separate incidents, and while presumed dead, DCIP has not yet confirmed their deaths.
Since May 10, at least 200 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and at least 1,307 Palestinians were injured, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Over 58,000 people have been displaced from their homes including 42,000 internally displaced persons who have sought protection in 50 UNRWA schools across the Gaza Strip, and at least 2,500 people have been made homeless due to the destruction of their homes, according to OCHA.
Israeli forces continue to target essential infrastructure, including roads leading to two main hospitals, resulting in an additional decline in the public’s access to basic services, according to OCHA.
The latest escalation in hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups follows weeks of mounting tension as Israeli settlers, with Israeli government support, seek to expel hundreds of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian-led protests against these planned expulsions have been met with state-sanctioned violence as Israeli police and paramilitary border police use excessive force against Palestinian protesters.
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.
While Israel relies on the principle of self-defense to justify military offensives on Gaza, Israeli forces are bound to customary international law rules of proportionality and necessity.