IOF Carry Out Incursions in Gaza, Ten People Killed and Numerous Homes Demolished
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) escalated their aggression against the Palestinian civilians in the OPT during the last two days. Ten Palestinians were killed and twelve homes and apartment buildings were demolished in two Israeli incursions in the Gaza Strip yesterday and last night.
At around12 :30am, Monday morning March3 , 2003 IOF attacked the refugee camp of al-Buriej, south of Gaza City, and surrounded its western environs under the cover of heavy gunfire. Eight people died as a result of Israeli actions; they are:
- Muhammad Ali al-Babli, aged 22 - Tareq Muhammad Aqil, aged17
- Nuha Sabri Swedan, aged33 - Fadi Fayiz al-Hawajreh, aged18
- Mu’tasim Aqil, aged27 - Mahir Khamis al-Rifa’I, aged 24
- Waleed al-Khateeb, aged24 - Rami Yusif Awad, aged18
In addition, 29 Palestinians were wounded and five residential buildings were demolished, four of them with dynamite mines. Al Mezan has documented that the homes were owned by: Mahmud Taha; Muhammad Abdul Salam; Mahdi Aqil, Muhammad Ammum, and Mahmud Abu Hasaneen, the last of which is three stories high. Moreover, IOF arrested two people, both of whom are sons of Muhammad Abdul Salam.
In one of the demolitions, Nuha Swedan, who was pregnant, died inside her home when a wall fell on her as Israeli forces blew up an adjacent home. Eyewitnesses report that IOF prevented ambulances from reaching the wounded until they withdrew at 6 am.
In a separate attack, IOF broke into the western camp and the al-Nemsawi area in Khan Younis at around10 : 30pm Saturday 1 March2003 . In this attack, two Palestinians were killed, Mahmud Abdul Hadi, aged25 , and Abid Rabu al Assar, aged 50 and another 40 people were wounded. Abid Rabu al Assar died as a wall collapsed on him due to the demolition of his neighbor’s home. Nine residential buildings were destroyed in this incursion including one six-story and one two-story apartment building, in addition to six stores. IOF destroyed part of the Nasir Hospital in the area and caused more damage to the hospital, a mosque and a metal shop with shell fire before they withdrew at 6 am.
According to Al Mezan’s records, IOF have systematically been destroying civil premises with disregarded for civilian lives. Numerous Palestinian civilians were killed during similar incursions, and many of them died inside their homes after walls fell on them. The Center keeps detailed records on all of these incidents.
Al Mezan highlights the fact that Israel's escalation is in part allowed by the international community's tendency to address the Israeli occupation and Palestinian rights from a political perspective, which contravenes their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of1949 .
As such, Al Mezan is making an urgent appeal to the international community to monitor the human rights situation in the OPT more carefully, and to intervene immediately to protect the civilian population and ensure Israel’s respect of its obligations under human rights law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.