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JULY 24 UPDATE: Death toll of Palestinian children spirals as Israel expands Gaza offensive
Ramallah, July 24, 2014—As the child death toll rises at an alarming rate in Gaza, the United Nations expressed serious concern that, on average, Israeli forces killed one child every hour for the past three days.
The total number of confirmed child deaths now stands at 123, with an additional 60 cases under investigation by DCI-Palestine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• One child dies every hour
• Al-Qassas family
• Al-Kilani family
• UN school shelled
• DCI statement to HRC
• July 23 update
Seven children from three families died together Sunday evening, July 20, in the Remal neighborhood of Gaza City. Two Israeli missiles killed Mohammad Hani Mohammad Hallaq, 2, his cousins Saji Hasan Akram Hallaq, 4, and Kenan, 6, alongside their neighbors Ibrahim Khalil Abed Ammar, 13, and his siblings Iman, 6, and Asem, 3. A third Israeli drone missile killed their neighbor Rahaf Akram Ismail Abu Juma'a, 4.
On Monday afternoon, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, an Israeli aircraft targeted the al-Qassas home, killing nine family members, including six children. Isra' Yasser Khader al-Qassas, 12, and his siblings Yasmin, 8, Arwa, 6, and Samar, 3, were playing with their cousins, Lamia, 14, and Nesma, 10, when they died.
The al-Kilani family fled their home in the northern Gaza city of Beit Lahia to the Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza City at the start of Israel’s aerial assault. Following intense Israeli attacks on Shuja’iyya, the family relocated to the Salam apartment complex in the center of Gaza City.
On Monday evening, an F16 airstrike targeted their building, killing Reem Ibrahim Theeb al-Kilani, 12, and her four siblings, Sawsan, 11, Yasin, 9, Yasser, 8, and Elias, 4. Mahmoud Shaaban Mohammad Derbas, 16, was killed in the same strike.
A family in the Mahatta area of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza lost two cousins, Othman Salem Abdul-Majid Brai'em, 17, and Fadi Azmi Abdul-Majid Brai'em, 17, who were killed by a targeted drone missile while bringing their donkey water on their farmland.
The shelling of an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun on Thursday added to growing concerns that Israel is violating international law.
At least fifteen died in the attack on the compound, which acts as a shelter for nearly 800 displaced people. UNRWA officials confirmed that they gave precise coordinates of the shelter to the Israeli army before the attack.
Ramallah, July 23, 2014—Seven more child deaths were confirmed by DCI-Palestine today, with another Gaza family suffering heavy losses. Six children from the Siam family, in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, were among the dead, as well as a 15-year-old boy, also from Rafah.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Death toll rises
• Siam family
• DCI statement to HRC
• July 22 update
On Sunday, July 20, Mohammad Raja Mohammad Handam was with his father in front of their house when an artillery shell landed nearby. Mohammad sustained severe burns and injuries to his abdomen and liver, and died from his wounds.
On Monday, July 21, the Siam family was at home when a neighbor’s house was targeted by a drone missile. The family fled, but was hit by another drone missile as they evacuated their home. Eleven family members died instantly, including 7-month-old Dalal Nabil Mahrous Siam, her siblings Ghaida, 6, and Mustafa, 11, and her cousins Muin Mohammad Mahrous Siam, 4, and Ahmad Ayman Mahrous Siam, 15. Several family members suffered serious injuries, including Abdul-Rahman Nabil Mahrous Siam, 7, who died from his wounds early Tuesday.
Ramallah, July 22, 2014—The numbers of child fatalities grew rapidly as Israel continued its ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, with day three of the invasion, Sunday, July 20, proving the deadliest yet. In Khan Younis, 19 children from the same family were killed when bombs from an Israeli aircraft destroyed their home. A further three children across Gaza lost their lives on the same day.
The total number of confirmed child deaths now stands at 95, with a further 65 cases being investigated by DCI-Palestine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Child deaths spiral
• Abu Jami' family
• Unlawful targeting
• July 21 update
Dina Rushdi Omar Hamada, 16, died when her house in Gaza City was targeted by a drone missile.
In the southern Gaza town of Rafah, 16-year-old Anas Mahmoud Hussein Muammar was targeted by a drone missile as he sat with his brothers on the balcony of their apartment, drinking coffee. He was pronounced dead in hospital after sustaining critical injuries.
At Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, 12-year-old Shaaban Jamil Shaaban Zeyadeh was killed along with six of his family members as they tried to evacuate their home, which was bombed in an airstrike.
The names of the children from the Abu Jami’ family in Khan Younis, ages ranging from 4 months to 14 years old, are listed below. All were sheltering in their four-storey house when the strike occurred without warning.
Njoud Tayseer Ahmad Abu Jami’, 4 months
Bisan Bassam Ahmad Abu Jami’, 6 months
Nour Yaser Ahmad Abu Jami’, 2
Rinas Tayseer Ahmad Abu Jami’, 2
Suheila Bassam Ahmad Abu Jami’, 3
Seraj Yaser Ahmad Abu Jami’, 4
Batoul Bassam Ahmad Abu Jami’, 4
Tawfiq Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, 4
Rayan Tayseer Ahmad Abu Jami’, 5
Sajed Yaser Ahmad Abu Jami’, 7
Maisa’a Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, 7
Husam Husam Abu Qnais, 7
Ahmad Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, 8
Haifa Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, 9
Ayyoub Tayseer Ahmad Abu Jami’, 10
Aya Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, 12
Fatima Tayseer Ahmad Abu Jami’, 12
Jawdat Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, 13
Razan Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, 14
Israeli officials stated that the intended target was a Hamas member who was visiting the house at the time of the strike, but human rights groups have called the massacre and similar strikes a “grave violation of international humanitarian law.”
Israel is obligated to act in accordance with international humanitarian law, which expressly states that only military objectives can be lawful or legitimate objects of an attack. In order to qualify as a military objective, the object must be used for a military purpose and its total or partial destruction would result in a definite military advantage.
While civilians, including children, must never be targeted, and civilian structures and infrastructure are presumed not to be legitimate targets, Israel continues to carry out direct attacks on civilian homes.
Based on a preliminary investigation, Israeli forces unlawfully targeted the Abu Jami’ family home as it was not being used for any military purpose at the time of the attack. The mere alleged presence of a member of a Palestinian armed group is an insufficient justification for an attack on the Abu Jami’ family home.
The conduct of Israeli forces during the military offensive, including targeting civilian homes, knowingly or recklessly killing civilians, and the failure to direct attacks at military targets constitutes war crimes under international law.
Responding to the Palestinian death toll, now numbering over 600 of which the greater part are civilians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of using “telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause.” The Israeli death toll stands at 27 soldiers and two civilians.
Ramallah, July 21, 2014—The death toll of Palestinian children has spiraled since the launch of a ground invasion on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military on July 17. The total number of confirmed deaths now stands at 73, with a further 73 cases being investigated by DCI-Palestine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Ground invasion
• Three days, 28 fatalities
• Ceasefire attempts
• Previous updates
The invasion has seen heavy artillery fire and constant airstrikes batter the Gaza Strip since Thursday. Sunday became the bloodiest day of the fortnight-long Israeli military offensive so far, with at least 100 civilians killed as Israeli troops advanced into Shuja'iyya, a crowded residential neighborhood of Gaza City. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday brought 28 child fatalities.
"As well as child fatalities, an estimated 72,000 children are suffering from trauma resulting from death, injury or loss of homes," said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. "Israel must immediately halt its ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip before thousands more lives are disrupted."
Seven children died on the evening of Thursday, July 17, shortly before the Israeli military began its ground operation. Mohammad Ibrahim Ali Inteez, 12, died along with his 1-year-old nephew, Mohammad Salem Ibrahim Inteez, when an artillery shell targeted their building in Gaza City's Al-Shaath neighborhood as they hid in the stairwell. In Gaza City's Al-Sabra neighborhood, three members of the Shhaiber family, Afnan, 8, Wasim, 9, and Jihad, 10, died when an Israeli drone fired a missile at their building as they played on the roof.
Also on Thursday, Yamen Riyad Hasan al-Hmaidi, 4, from Al-Zawaida in central Gaza, and Rahaf Khalil Hamad al-Jabour, 3, from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, died in separate incidents when they sustained head injuries from shrapnel in the wake of nearby explosions.
On Friday, July 18, 13 children were killed. Five children from the Abu Jarad family died when Israeli artillery shells struck their homes in the northern Gaza city of Beit Hanoun. The explosion killed 7-month-old baby Musa, his siblings Sameeh, 1, and Haniyeh, 2, and his cousins Samar, 14 and Ahlam, 17. Also in Beit Hanoun, three brothers were killed in an artillery shell attack. Mohammad Ismail Mohammad Abu Muslim, 15, and his younger brothers Wala, 12, and Ahmad, 11, died instantly when the missile hit their home.
Four children died in Gaza City's Al-Tuffah neighborhood. Imad Hamed Fayeq Elwan, 7, and his brother Qasem, 4, died instantly when an artillery shell struck their bedroom. A drone missile hit 9-year-old Sara Mohammad Rebhi Bustan as she shopped at the local grocery store with her cousin. Rizq Ahmad Adnan al-Hayek, 1, died as he was riding his bicycle in the corridor of his home when it was targeted in an artillery attack.
In Khan Younis, 14-year-old Amjad Salem Khamis Shaath died as he was sitting with his family close to their house when a drone missile targeted the area.
On Saturday, July 19, a further eight children were killed. In Beit Hanoun, two sisters, Nagham Mahmoud Abdulhameed Zwaidi, 3, and Ru'ya, 6, died as they sheltered with their family in a relative's apartment, which was struck by an artillery shell.
A family from Beit Lahia in northern Gaza lost two children, Mohammad Rafeeq Ahmad al-Rahl,17, and Mohammad Ziyad Saleh al-Rahl, 5, who were killed by flying shrapnel caused by a nearby explosion. Also in Beit Lahia, 10-year-old Omar Jameel Subhi Hammouda and his cousin died instantly upon impact from a drone missile that landed next to them while they stood in the city center with a neighbor.
In Khan Younis, Wasim Rida Mustafa Salhiya, 15, and Mohammad Bassam Mohammad al-Sarri, 16, died as they stood with a group of neighbors near a local store when a drone missile targeted the crowd. In Rafah in southern Gaza, Mahmoud Anwar Mohammad Abu Shabab, 16, died when a shell landed in his street close to where he was playing with his brothers.
Sharply rising civilian casualties have caused concern among the international community, with US President Barack Obama and the UN calling for an immediate cessation of the hostilities.
International law demands that civilian structures such as hospitals, schools and homes not be the object of an attack. Israel, as the occupying power under international law, is required to protect Palestinian civilians living in Gaza, including children, against all acts of violence. Directly targeting civilians or failing to adequately distinguish between civilian and military objects violates international humanitarian law. Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip has been characterized by the direct targeting of civilian homes and infrastructure, and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, which constitutes a war crime.
While Israeli officials claim that Israeli forces do not target hospitals, on Monday, Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah became the fourth hospital to be attacked.
A conclusive ceasefire deal has so far failed to materialize, with even those arranged to allow for ambulances to evacuate the dead and injured failing to hold for the duration of the agreement. The arrival of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry in the region on Monday heralds a further diplomatic push to end the violence. As yet, however, an end to the conflict appears distant, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating that he is prepared to expand the operation “until the goal is achieved.”
Hamas, meanwhile, has responded to the Israeli ground invasion with further rocket attacks, some missiles reaching Tel Aviv. On the Israeli side, two civilians and 18 soldiers have been confirmed dead since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. The majority of Israeli casualties have taken place since Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip last Thursday.
The toll inflicted on children has been a central factor in international efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement. The targeting of civilian buildings and residential neighborhoods suggests that the death toll will continue to rise further before a ceasefire agreement is reached.
- JULY 17 UPDATE: Death toll of children rises as Israel pummels Gaza
- Gaza rocket leaves 2-year-old dead and three injured
- 10-year-old boy fifth child killed by Israeli forces since January
- 10-year-old child critically wounded in Israeli airstrike
- Fortnight of bloodshed leaves two children dead, one paralyzed and others injured
- Four-month-old Gaza baby wounded in air strike
- Two Palestinian teens among casualties as Israeli drones target Gaza
- 11-year-old left to die after Israeli soldiers open fire
- Increased cross-border violence in Gaza results in fatalities, injuries to children