Time: 2pm (+2 GMT)
At around 9:30pm on Saturday, 4 May 2019, Israeli forces launched over 100 raids on different places in the Gaza Strip. Israeli jetfighters fired more than 180 missiles, destroying seven residential and commercial buildings, 57 security sites, 20 open areas, and other public and private properties. Israeli artillery also fired more than 60 shells into areas in eastern areas of the Gaza Strip. These attacks followed the start of a new military escalation that started with four Palestinians killed, including two protesters at the Great March of Return (GMR) demonstrations, on Friday 3 May 2019. Israeli forces stated that two soldiers were shot with fire from Gaza and launched dozens of strikes on sites of armed Palestinian factions, killing two persons.
By the time of publishing this release, eight Palestinians were killed and 22 wounded in Israeli attacks. 14 housing units as well as media and think-tank offices in seven targeted buildings were destroyed, and substantial damage was caused to houses nearby.
The attacks have left the population of Gaza in a general atmosphere of fear. As of 4pm on Saturday, 4 May 2019, Israel further imposed complete closure on Gaza, shutting down all crossings and closing Gaza’s territorial water for fishing.
Documentation by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights shows that on Saturday, 4 May 2019:
-- At 10:40am, Israeli artillery fired two shells into farming lands in east Abasan Al-Jadida town in east Khan Younis district. One house, of Abu Taima family, was damaged in the attack and two persons, Fadi Abu Taima, 30, and Ina’am Al-Qara, 36, were lightly wounded.
-- At 6pm, an explosion in an empty land of Abu Arar family in Al-Maslakh street in Al-Zaitoun neighborhood in east Gaza City claimed the lives of a pregnant woman, Falasteen Abu Shahma, 35, and an 18-month-old child, Seba Abu Arar. Five more people, including two children, were injured in the explosion.
-- At 7:50pm, Israeli jetfighters fired five missiles onto a six-story building owned by Iyad Qtaifan, 45. The building, of 14 residential apartments and commercial offices, were completely destroyed in the attack. The office of the Anadolu Agency, located in the building, was also destroyed. Tens of nearby houses were damaged, too.
-- At 9:05pm, Israeli jetfighters fired four missiles onto the eight-story Al-Khozondar commercial building, of 20 office spaces and shops. The building also includes offices for the Al-Hourani Center for Studies and Documentation, affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Yardimeli Association, a Turkish charity serving orphans in Gaza, both of which were destroyed in the attack. Tens of houses and shops nearby were damaged, too.
-- At 10:10pm, an Israeli jetfighter fired one missile onto a group of people around the American International School in Beit Lahia town in North Gaza district. Khaled Abu Qlaiq, 25, a resident of Beit Lahia who works as a guard for a local resort, was killed in the attack.
-- At 10:45pm, Israeli jetfighters fired three missiles onto the house of Khaled Abu Zayda, 55, in west Jabalia refugee camp in North Gaza district. The three-story building, housing three families of 16 members, including eight children, on a space of 220 square meters, was completely destroyed. A number of nearby houses were also damaged in the attack.
-- At 11:50pm, Israeli jetfighters fired two missiles onto the house of Mustafa Al-Astal, 41, in the middle of Khan Younis. The floor-level building, housing Al-Astal and his wife on a space of 120 square meters, was again attacked by jetfighters before it was erased.
Al Mezan documentation shows that on Sunday, 5 May 2019, the Israeli forces attacks occurred as follow:
-- At 12:45am, Israeli jetfighters attacked with two missiles the house of Tayseer Al-Mubasher, 45, in Khan Younis. The floor-level building, housing Al-Mubasher’s family of eight, including four children, was again attacked by jetfighters before it was completely destroyed. Nearby houses were also damaged in the attacks.
-- At 1:25am, Israeli jetfighters attacked with two missiles a farming land, targeting armed Palestinian faction members, in northwest Al Bureij refugee camp in the Middle Gaza district. Fawzi Bawadi, 24, and Mahmoud Issa, 25, both residents of the refugee camp, were killed in the attack and a third person was moderately injured.
-- At 1:55am, Israeli jetfighters attacked with three missiles a commercial building owned by Salim Al-Ghusain, 60. The seven-story building, of 14 offices, including those of the board of trustees of Al-Aqsa University, of Urban Contracting Company, of Hala Palestine Training Center, and Al-Dan Exchange, was flattened in the attack. Tens of nearby houses were also damaged.
-- At 4:30am, Israeli jetfighters attacked with two missiles the house of Bilal Zo’rob, 29, in Abu Bakir street in west Rafah. The two-story, four-apartment building, housing four families of 20 members on a space of 270 square meters, was earlier targeted with two missiles by Israeli drones, at intervals of five minutes, before it was completely destroyed. At 4:25am, Israeli drones attacked a nearby floor-level house of two apartments. The apartments were owned by Sobhi Zo’rob, 66, and rented to two families of nine. Substantial damage was caused to nearby houses.
-- At 1:30pm, a group of armed Palestinian faction members in Al-Shujayya neighborhood in east Gaza City were targeted with one missile. Bilal Al-Bana, 29, a resident of south Gaza City, and Abdallah Abu Al-Atta, 21, a resident of Al-Shujayya, were killed in the attack.
Al Mezan condemns the escalation in airstrikes and warns against continuing this escalation into a new cycle of hostilities in Gaza. Al Mezan is deeply concerned by the continued silence of the international community as Gaza is further pushed to worse deterioration of security and humanitarian conditions. Al Mezan warns that it has been civilians who have borne the brunt of Israel’s violence, blockade, and closure, in stark violation of international law.
Al Mezan calls on international community to condemn the violations of international law and make a prompt intervention to ensure the protection of civilians from collective punishment, indiscriminate attacks, and use of unlawful force. The international community must end its silence on the aggravating human rights situation and condemn all violations of international law. Al Mezan also calls on the international community to take firm actions to ensure international law is respected, civilians are protected, and justice is served, including through the lifting of the closure and blockade policy and ensuring effective access to justice.