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Israel mounts bloody offensive against Gaza
Monday, March 3, 2008 :In the last few days, Israel has mounted a massive offensive against the political leadership of Hamas and its military wing as well as the civilian population of Gaza. The attacks, claiming the lives of over 100 Palestinians, including many civilians, presage a full scale aerial bombardment and a possible ground invasion.
Israeli officials are already describing the conflict with Gaza as a “war”.
Early Sunday morning, Israel’s air force demolished the office of Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza City, wounding five people, and hit seven weapons depots in northern Gaza, killing five militants. While the office was empty at the time of the air strike, there was no mistaking its message to the Hamas leadership—the same given to Yasser Arafat in April 2002 when his Ramallah compound was demolished—that nothing but total submission to Israel’s diktats will suffice. It was one of a dozen targets of a dawn raid by the Israel air force.
The previous day, in the deadliest attack since Israel supposedly “disengaged” from Gaza in August 2005, Israeli ground forces entered northern Gaza, targeting militants in and around Jabaliya refugee camp. They killed 61 Palestinians, at least two dozen of whom were civilians, including a baby, and wounded about 200, 14 of them critically.
“We are in the middle of a total war. We hear the rockets and the explosions everywhere... we cannot leave our homes,” a Jabaliya resident, Abu Alaa, told the BBC. “They’re shooting at everything that moves.”Read More
Sunday, March 2, 2008 : The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemns in the strongest possible terms the continuing Israeli Occupation Forces' (IOF) open war on the civilians of the Gaza Strip. Air and land bombardments have killed 101 Palestinians since 27 February, and injured hundreds of others. The Centre also denounces the continued international silence over the carnage which has effectively encouraged the IOF to commit additional war crimes against Palestinian civilians and their property. The Centre warns that deaths and injuries will undoubtedly rise if the IOF operation continues, and reiterates its demand that the international community act immediately and effectively to put an end to these crimes, and to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians.
During the last 24 hours, another 39 Palestinians were killed throughout the Gaza Strip. Twenty-two of them were unarmed civilians, including nine children. Six of the victims were from one family, including three women and three men who were killed in an air strike in Gaza City. The death toll since 27 February currently stands at 101 victims, including 49 unarmed civilians. The civilians who have been killed include 25 children and five women. In addition, more than 250 other people have been injured, mostly unarmed civilians. IOF have also destroyed houses and property across the Gaza Strip.
During the last 24 hours, the majority of IOF operations took place in and around the town of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF continued to use disproportionate and excessive lethal force in residential districts, with utter disregard for the lives of civilians. Jabaliya is one of the most densely populated places in the world, and since yesterday morning (1 March), 55 people have been killed by IOF in Jabaliya, including 19 children and 11 other unarmed civilians, including an infant, two women, two young brothers, a brother and sister, and a father and son.
In other crucial developments, at approximately 5:15pm on Saturday, 1 March, an IOF military plane dropped three bombs on the house of Abd al-Rahman Mohammad Ali Atallah (62), near al-Bokhari Mosque in Nafaq Street east of Gaza City. The aerial bombardment completely destroyed the house, killing six members of the same family, including three women. Another six members of the same family were injured. Four of the injured were children, one of them a two-day-old infant. The victims have been identified as:
* 1. Abd al-Rahman Mohammad Ali Atallah (62)
At approximately 8:37pm, an IOF plane bombed a Palestinian police vehicle in Khan Younis that was parked opposite the Khan Younis Police Compound. Two policemen, Ra'fat Yassin Abd al-Aziz Hamad (38) and Hasan Ibrahim Abu Naja (24) were killed. A third policeman was seriously injured.
At approximately 22:04, IOF planes dropped four bombs on Bader Mosque (under construction) near the Rafah Police Compound in Abu Baker al-Siddiq Street in Rafah. The mosque was completely destroyed. The raid targeted six police officers who had evacuated the police station and gathered inside the mosque. The raid dismembered their bodies. The victims have been identified as:* 1. Samir Hamdi Asfour (36)
* 2. Khaled Ahmad Abu Eyada (31)
* 3. Emad Ibrahim al-Talla (34)
* 4. Sadiq Yusef al-Buleishi (26)
* 5. Mohammad Omar Abu Nema (21)
* 6. Sobhi Mofeed Awadallah (20) Thirty other civilians were injured, including six children and four women, who were inside houses near the mosque. PCHR reiterates its condemnation of these serious crimes, and: * Affirms that these crimes are a continuation of Israeli war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) in general and the Gaza Strip in particular. These crimes are indicative of IOF utter disregard for civilian Palestinian lives.
* Reiterates its warning that, in light of statements and threats by Israeli political and military leaders, the death toll is likely to continue to rise.
* Calls upon the High Contracting Parties (HCP) of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) to fulfill their legal obligation under Article 1 of the Convention and ensure that it is respected by all parties under any circumstances. The Centre calls upon the HCP to fulfill their obligations under Article 146 of the Convention to pursue persons suspected of perpetrating grave violations of the Convention, which are defined as war crimes under Article 147 of the Convention.