Ramallah, May 13, 2021—Israeli aerial attacks killed four Palestinian children across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, bringing the total number of Palestinian children killed in Gaza to 17 since hostilities began on May 10.
Hamza Mahmoud Yassin Ali, 12, was struck by shrapnel from an Israeli drone-fired missile in Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood around 1 p.m. on Tuesday and died the following day. Hamza was participating in a funeral procession near his home when he sustained wounds to his abdomen and lacerations on his limbs, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International - Palestine. He was transported to Shifa hospital in Gaza City in critical condition and died early Wednesday morning.
A U.S.-sourced Israeli Apache attack helicopter killed two Palestinian children and critically injured a third on Wednesday afternoon in Al-Fukharia village southeast of Khan Younis, located about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the Gaza perimeter fence. Hamada Attia Abed al-Emour, 13, was on his way to a store near his home around 5:30 p.m., accompanied by his two cousins, Ammar Tayseer Mohammad al-Emour, 10, and Elyan Moneer Ibrahim al-Emour, 12, when the Israeli attack helicopter fired two thermal flares and then a missile in the direction of the children, according to documentation collected by DCIP. At the time of the missile attack, the street was open and completely quiet.
The helicopter-fired missile directly hit Hamada and Ammar, dismembering and killing them both instantly. Elyan, who was walking five to six meters (16-20 feet) in front of his cousins, was struck with shrapnel in the abdomen, according to documentation collected by DCIP. All three children were transported to the nearby European hospital where doctors pronounced Hamada and Ammar dead. Eylan was later transferred to Khan Younis’ Nasser hospital and remains in critical condition as of midday on May 13.
An Israeli warplane fired a missile in Shaafout neighborhood, located in southeastern Gaza City, around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday night, killing 13-year-old Yahya Mazen Shehada Khalifa. He was on his way to a shop near his home when the Israeli missile exploded in front of an auto repair shop located on Salah al-Din Street, the Gaza Strip’s main roadway, according to documentation collected by DCIP.
Yahya died instantly in the blast, and his body was dismembered. Dozens of area residents and passers-by were injured, and a large number of neighboring houses were damaged, according to evidence collected by DCIP. Yahya was taken to Shifa hospital in Gaza City where he was pronounced dead.
Hamza Mahmoud Yassin Ali, 12, was struck by shrapnel from an Israeli drone-fired missile in Gaza City’s Shuja’iyya neighborhood around 1 p.m. on Tuesday and died on May 12, 2021. #GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/ED5CBD35X6— Defense for Children (@DCIPalestine) May 14, 2021
DCIP has documented 13 other children killed in the Gaza Strip since violence escalated Monday afternoon. Nine Palestinian children were killed late Monday afternoon in three separate incidents in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli missiles killed at least three Palestinian children on Tuesday afternoon and early Wednesday morning as Israel carried out hundreds of airstrikes in densely-populated civilian areas across the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces shot and killed 17-year-old Bashar Ahmad Ibrahim Samour Wednesday morning near the Gaza perimeter fence in Abasan Al-Jadida, east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
DCIP continues to investigate other incidents to determine if children were victims and to identify the responsible parties.
These latest incidents follow 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.
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.