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Palestinian Family Members Killed and Injured in the Latest Israeli Military Escalation
On the evening of Saturday, 8 July 2006, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a Palestinian woman and two of her children, and injured another five members of the same family, when an IOF plane dropped a bomb close to their house located to the east of the Sheja’iya area of Gaza City. This crime is a continuation of a series of war crimes that have been perpetrated by IOF in the Gaza Strip over the past two weeks. Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip are paying the price of the war launched by IOF, which has led to the killing and injury of a large number of civilians. The total number of Palestinians killed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) since 25 June 2006 is now at fifty-two. In addition, more than a hundred and forty have been injured, many of them seriously.
PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 19:50 on Saturday, 8 July 2006, an IOF plane fired one bomb that fell near the house belonging to Farid Hajjaj, located near Obeid Petrol Station at the end of Mansour Street, east of Sheja’iya in the eastern part of Gaza City. The house is located 800 meters from the border with Israel. The bomb shrapnel spread to the area and inside the house. As a result, Farid’s wife and two of his children were killed. Five other family members were injured. The family was sitting in the garden of the house when the bomb hit. Medical sources indicated that the three dead family members had been hit by shrapnel at very close range. The conditions of the injured are described as moderate to serious. The dead family members are:
# Ammouna Yousef Hajjaj (42);
# Rawan Farid Hajjaj (6); and
# Mohammad Farid Hajjaj (20)
After the incident, an IOF spokesman confirmed that IOF planes had dropped one bomb near Al-Muntar (Karni) crossing (near the house) in an attempted targeting of a Palestinian militant. It is noted that IOF have been conducting an incursion in the area since the early morning hours of Saturday (8 July 2006), and are conducting a wide military operation in the area.
In other incidents, IOF killed Emad Mohammad El-Athamna (26), when an artillery shell was fired at him while he was in the industrial zone in the north of the Gaza Strip. In addition, Jaber El-Shantaf, a 26-year-old resident of Beit Lahya, died of wounds he sustained earlier. He is a member of the Palestinian resistance.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, 9 July 2006, an IOF fighter jet dropped a bomb at the Beit Hanoun bridge, on the southern entrance of the town. The bridge was destroyed, cutting off the town from its surroundings. In addition, the electricity was cut off from the northern part of the Gaza Strip, as a result of the bombardment. In a further air raid, an IOF aircraft dropped a bomb on a training area used by the “Ahmad Abu El-Riesh Battalions”, an armed wing of Fatah, in Khan Yunis. No injuries were reported in the training area.
PCHR condemns the killing of Palestinian civilians by IOF, the endangering of Palestinian civilian lives, and the destruction of civilian property through disproportionate use of lethal force. These actions are considered forms of reprisals and collective punishment under article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Centre calls upon the High Contracting Parties of the convention to act immediately to ensure protection for the lives of civilians and to ensure IOF respect for the convention. The Centre calls upon the High Contracting Parties to enforce article 1 of the convention regarding the respect of the convention under all circumstances, and to take the necessary punitive steps against the perpetrators of serious violations.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.