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Day Four: Israel Intensifies Attacks on Gaza, Destroying Houses Without Warning and Forcing Thousands of Residents to Flee


The fourth day of the Israeli military offensive against Gaza was marked by intense and indiscriminate shelling of densely populated residential areas along the eastern side of the Gaza Strip by Israel’s artillery and air forces. Alarmingly, Israel’s airstrikes targeted and destroyed a number of houses while residents were inside. Thousands of families in the Shujaiya neighborhood, eastern Gaza City, and in Jabalia and Beit Lahia, North Gaza, sought shelter in schools to flee some of Israel’s most violent attacks since the beginning of the escalation. With schools being noticeably ill-equipped, dozens of Palestinian families are increasingly exposed to further suffering.


Al Mezan’s field monitoring shows that the fourth day of attacks raised the number of Palestinian fatalities to 122, including 32 children and 20 women, while another 600 suffered injuries, including 129 children and 89 women. The number of targeted residential buildings rose to 35, which—along with the three destroyed towers previously reported—brought the total number of destroyed residential units to 163. However, Al Mezan’s field workers estimate that this figure is likely to rise because some of the buildings were completely destroyed and evacuated. In addition, six schools, three mosques, and hundreds of governmental sites have been damaged since the escalation started. Airstrikes also led to the large-scale destruction of power and water networks, as well as thousands of square meters of paved roads.


According to Israel’s statements, on 14 May, 160 Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes at 150 targets, using 450 shells in 40 minutes, mainly in North Gaza. The intensity of Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on one of the world’s most densely populated cities indicates a conscious decision to inflict the greatest number of casualties among civilians and their properties.


Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip continues to deteriorate due to Israel’s comprehensive closure, which now also extends to a ban on the entry of fuel, food, and medical supplies. Similarly, a worsening environmental crisis is expected to emerge as Palestinian municipalities struggle to provide basic water and sanitation services after Israel’s airstrikes caused considerable damage to vital infrastructure, including municipal facilities and vehicles.


Al Mezan’s field monitoring and documentation work recorded the attacks in the past 24 hours as follows:


In Rafah (southern Gaza Strip):


On 13 May 2021, at approximately 7:40pm, Israel’s air force fired a missile at a two-story house in Attanour neighborhood without prior warning. The house, which belongs to Jamal Ismail Al-Zamli and is home to two families made up of 12 persons, was completely destroyed. Hour Mumen Al-Zamli, 3, and her five-months pregnant mother, Kholoud Fuad Al-Shaer, 26, were killed, while six others were injured, including three children and two women.


Similarly, on the same day, at approximately 8:20pm, Israel’s air force fired a missile, without warning, at a three-story house in Al-Jeniya neighborhood that belongs to four families. In addition to two-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Rantisi, the airstrike killed his grandmother, Siham Yusuf Azara (Al-Rantisi), 66, his uncle, Raed Ibrahim Azara (Al-Rantisi), 29, and Raed’s 21-year-old wife, Shaima Diab Musa. Fifteen others, including seven children and three women, were injured.


In Khan Younis (southern Gaza Strip):


Israel’s air force launched seven airstrikes, firing eleven missiles, starting at 2pm on 13 May 2021. While no fatalities or casualties were reported, the airstrikes completely destroyed three houses and damaged 12 others and two farmlands. Palestine Production Bank was also targeted and partially destroyed.


In the Middle Gaza district:


On 13 May 2021, at approximately 3:20pm, Israel’s air force fired two missiles at a house that belongs to Ghasan Abdulmuti Abu Eyada in Bureij refugee camp, completely destroying it and damaging nearby houses. Two passersby, Ahmed Rami Al-Hawajri, 14, and Moayad Taysir Al-Khatib, 20, were killed, while two others sustained moderate to serious injuries.


The same evening, during another airstrike on a house in Bureij refugee camp, Israel’s air force killed Manar Khader Eisa, 39, and her 13-year-old daughter, Lina Mohammed Eisa, and inflicted moderate to serious injuries on three other people. Nearby houses were also partially destroyed.


On 14 May 2021, at approximately 8:30am, Mohammed Khaled Al-Tawashi, 21, a resident of Deir Al-Balah, was pronounced dead upon arrival at Al Aqsa Hospital. Al-Tawashi’s brother reported that Mohammed was killed when an Israeli drone fired a missile near their house the previous evening.


In Gaza City:


On 13 May 2021, at approximately 6:40pm, Israel’s air force targeted a group of people in the Tal Al-Hawa neighborhood in western Gaza City with one missile, killing Mustafa Hasan Al-abed, 38, and Abdulrahman Isbeetah Azzam, 34.


The same evening, Israel’s artillery forces intensified their shelling of the eastern vicinity of Al-Shujaiya. The shelling continued into the early hours of the next day and resulted in mass evacuations, with fleeing families seeking shelter in UN-run schools.


Early on Friday morning, 14 May, Israel’s air force fired a missile at a group of people in Al-Shujaiya, killing Husam Baker al-Hayya, 32, and Saqer Abdulmajid al-Hayya, 26.


Early the same day, Mahmoud Hamed Tulba, 13, died of his wounds, according to a statement by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Tulba was injured during an Israeli airstrike targeting Salah Al-Din Road in the neighborhood of Al-Zaytoun on 12 May 2021.


In North Gaza:


On 13 May 2021, at approximately 1:45pm, Israel’s air force fired a missile at a group of people near Nada 19, a high-rise building in Beit Hanoun, killing Khaled Imad al-Qanou, 17, and inflicting injuries on eight others.


The same evening, rescue crews from the Palestinian Civil Defense recovered the bodies of Rafaat Mohammed Ismail al-Tanani, 39, his wife, Rawya Fathi al-Tanani, 36, and his children, Ismail, 7, Adham, 4, Amir, 6, and two-year-old Mohammed. Al-Tanani was a tenant in a four-story residential building that belongs to Rabah al-Madhoun and had been reported missing along with his family after an Israeli strike completely destroyed the building.


At approximately 5:30pm, Israel’s artillery forces fired two shells at a group of farmers, killing one and severely injuring another: Suhaib Abdelrahim Ghanem, 25, and Yahia Mansour Ghaben, 24, respectively. The farmers, Beit Lahia residents, were working on farmland near Erez Crossing when the shelling occurred.


In intense shelling that targeted the areas adjacent to the perimeter fence north of Beit Hanoun, Umm Al-Nasr village, and Beit Lahia, Israel’s artillery forces killed six Palestinians—including two children (one being ten months old) and three women—and injured 25 others, including seven children and two women. According to medical personnel in Gaza’s Indonesia Hospital, the injuries ranged from mild to moderate. Fifteen houses were damaged in the attacks, forcing tens of families to flee. The fatalities were reported as follows: Nisreen Nasser Abu Qleeq, 25, Naama Saleh Ayyash, 47, Hashem Muhammad Al-Zughaibi, 20, Sabreen Nasser Abu Dayya, 27, Mohammad Salama Abu Dayya, ten months, Fawziya Nasser Abu Faris, 17. All of them were residents of the Bedouin village.


The same day, at 11:50pm, Israel’s air force fired three missiles at a four-story house in the middle of Beit Lahia Project Street, completely destroying it. The attack led to four Palestinian fatalities, including three women (one being six months pregnant), and 27 injuries, including ten children and six women. The fatalities are Mohammed Ibrahim Amen, 51, and his daughters, Hadeel, 18, Warda, 22, and a 24-year-old pregnant woman, Walaa.


Simultaneously, two other buildings that housed 91 residents, including 24 women and 41 children, were completely destroyed, causing damages to nearby houses.


Starting at 12:00am, on 14 May 2021, Israel’s air force fired around 150 missiles and shells on a large number of agricultural and vacant lands adjacent to residential areas in different parts of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia, and Umm Al-Nasr Village. The shelling resulted in a total of five fatalities, including two women and three children, and 68 injuries, including 21 women and 20 children. In one such incident, an Israeli strike targeted agricultural land next to Mahmmoud Hashem Al-Attar’s three-story house. Four residents were killed as the airstrike completely destroyed the house: Lamia Hasan al-Attar, 26, and her three children, Islam, 8, Amira, 7, and eight-month-old Mohammed. In a similar incident, Israel’s air force fired two missiles at agricultural land in al-Amal neighborhood, Beit Lahia, next to a two-story house. The owner of the house, Ibrahim Musa Salama, 49, and his son, were injured, while his wife, Fayza Ahmed Salama, 44, was killed in the attack. Several other houses were significantly damaged in similar incidents of indiscriminate and intense shelling in Beit Hanoun.


Al Mezan reiterates its strongest condemnation of Israel’s continued and escalating violence against civilians and civilian objects in Gaza in flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of distinction, proportionality, and humanity enshrined in customary international humanitarian law.


Al Mezan stresses that Israel’s deliberate and systematic attacks on civilians, family homes and public facilities—a feature of the 2014 war that is being repeated today—likely amount to war crimes, which warrant swift international intervention to ensure their cessation and the prosecution of perpetrators. Effective measures are urgently needed after statements of the Israeli Prime Minister urging Israeli troops not to fear investigative committees, commissions of inquiry or being held accountable. Accordingly, we call on the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to ensure that Israel’s apparent policy of targeting family homes in Gaza is subject to discrete and in-depth investigations, so that those responsible can finally be held to account.


Al Mezan calls on the international community to take prompt action to end Israel’s military escalation and ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians and their properties. Al Mezan also warns against the severe repercussions of the international community’s inaction concerning the humanitarian conditions of civilians in Gaza, notably women and children, whilst also stressing that Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is likely to worsen as long as the closure remains in place.

Tags / #IOF crimes #IHL #shelling