Roof-knocking employed again by IOF in Gaza, Death toll reaches 44; over 450 wounded before the end of 4th day of aggression
Published: 22:00 Gaza Time (+2 GMT)
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued its attacks on Gaza for the fourth day. Today, it was confirmed that the IOF started to use the ‘roof-knocking’ tactic in attacking houses in Gaza. This tactic means that Israeli warplanes fire a rocket or more to pierce the roof of a house and then fire larger bombs or missiles at the houses after a few minutes. This tactic killed dozens of Palestinian civilians during Israel’s aggression in Gaza in the winter of 2008/09, and was condemned by international community. Meanwhile, by the time of issuing this press release, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights verified the killing of 44 Palestinians in IOF attacks on Gaza. Among the casualties were six children and three women. Atleast another 452 people were injured; 143 of whom were children and 74 women.
At approximately7:30 pm today, 17 November 2012, an IOF drone fired rockets at two houses and an open field in Feir Al-Balah, in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The houses of Hassan Hammad, 46, and Jamal Rabah, 52, were hit by two rockets. Israeli jets fired heavy missiles at the house of Hammad and destroyed it. The other drone attack on the house of Rabah injured Mrs. MervatRabah, 52, and a girl, Islam Al-Bheesi, 16. Several houses in the vicinity of these two houses were damaged.
At 8:50 pm, IOF drones fired rockets at the house of SalimIqdeeh, which is located in the town of Abasan east to Khan Younis district. Ten minutes later, IOF jets fired heavy missiles at the house and destroyed it completely. Several houses in the vicinity of this house were damaged.
In another direct attack on a house at approximately 9:10 pm, IOF drones fired a rocket at the house of NajiIqdeeh, which is located in Khuza’a town east to Khan Younis. This attack occurred when the family was inside the house, and killed a woman, SamaherIqdeeh, 28, and critically injured NidalIqdeeh, 27.
IOF launched other air strikes at houses in the northern Gaza town of BeitHanoun. At approximately 6:50 pm Israel warplanes fired several missiles at the house of Ismail Odwan, 42, the house of his brother, Faraj, 52, and his cousin Muneer, 38, and two other houses belonging to other relatives of Ismail. The houses are all located in the Gaza Street in BeitHanoun and were attacked within a few minutes. The residents of the houses escaped from the area and, at about 7:05 pm, IOF jets fired a heavy missile at the house of Ismail, destroying it and damaging ten adjacent houses; five of which sustained serious damages. These attacks resemble the roof-knocking tactic, which the IOF used during Operation Cast Lead and killed and injured dozens of civilians at the time.
The IOF continued closing all of Gaza’s crossings; including the Karm Abu Salim (Kerem Shalom) crossing; the only crossing trough which trade and humanitarian aid is allowed by Israel into Gaza. Six years after Israel’s closure of Gaza, which has prevented Gaza from keeping any meaningful stocks of basic materials, closing this crossing for a few days causes scarcity in basic goods and fuel. IOF attacks on smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border have also stopped the entry of basic goods through these tunnels. Under the lack of fuel and power, Gazans face the threat of, among other things, stoppage of water supplies and pumping and treatment of sewage.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemns the IOF’s continued violations of human rights and international humanitarian law; especially attacks that directly target civilians and civilian objects, or carried out disproportionally. Al Mezan notes that many of the IOF attacks on Gaza, as well as its closure, constitute grave breaches of IHL; and many may amount to war crimes. Al Mezan deplores the inaction of the international community, who are under an obligation to uphold the rule of law and protection of civilians.
Al Mezan particularly deplores the positions of several states and inter-governmental organizations, including the European Union, which were premised on the contention that Gaza factions started the hostilities. These positions echoed in Israel in a way that has encouraged IOF attacks to continue so far. Al Mezan stresses that the two rounds of hostilities during the past two weeks, the IOF initiated by attacking civilians in Gaza on 8, 10, and 11 November 2012; then by an attack in which a leader of Hamas military wing, Ahmed Al-Ja’abari, was killed when a truce was being negotiated on 14 November 2012. Moreover, Al Mezan stresses that Gaza remains under Israel’s effective control and siege; both of which represent forms of aggression.
Al Mezan calls international community to condemn the violations of human rights and IHL in Gaza and intervene to bring IOF aggression to an immediate halt. Al Mezan also calls for accelerating the efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza’s population; especially medical and fuel supplies.