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Day Seven: Israeli forces kill 37 Palestinians, obliterating whole families, and destroys 152 homes

16-05-2021

The number of Palestinian fatalities continues to rise as Israel’s military offensive in Gaza enters its seventh consecutive day. On this day alone, Al Mezan’s field monitoring shows that Israel’s massive use of heavy munitions killed 37 Palestinians, including 12 children and nine women, targeting residential buildings, civil properties, and paved roads. Another 124 people, including 17 children and 21 women, were wounded. In the past 24 hours, Israeli airstrikes targeted 30 residential buildings, including three towers—one of which was completely destroyed—ultimately destroying 152 residential units. Notably, some of these buildings housed news and press agencies, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. Similarly, Israel’s airstrikes also targeted and destroyed key governmental sites, such as the Palestinian Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Palestinian Cabinet in Gaza.     

 

Emergency and rescue teams are still searching for survivors under the rubble of homes destroyed overnight, without warning, by Israel’s air forces. Tens of residents, mostly women and children, have not yet been found. The airstrikes also deliberately destroyed vital roads leading to hospitals, which not only severely hindered the work of paramedics and rescue crews but also subjected them to harm. Major power, telecommunication, and water networks were also damaged in the attacks.      

 

Israel’s offensive has so far resulted in the death of 181 Palestinians, including 53 children and 31 women; 849 others have been injured in the attacks, including 162 children and 137 women. The number of targeted residential buildings now stands at 81, including six towers—three of which were completely destroyed—resulting in the destruction of a total of 341 residential units since the beginning of the offensive. However, Al Mezan’s field workers estimate that this figure is likely to rise given that some of the buildings were completely destroyed and evacuated, making it difficult to count the actual number of residential units affected. 

 

These attacks exacerbate the already escalating humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip caused by Israel’s comprehensive closure, which now also extends to a ban on the entry of fuel, food, and medical supplies. There is also an atmosphere of terror among people in Gaza, especially women and their children, amid extreme psychological conditions created by the intensity and frequency of the attacks.

 

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

 

Rafah District:

 

Israeli air forces continued their attacks by targeting two houses, completely destroying them and partially damaging nearby houses. Israeli artillery also shelled the houses of residents in the crowded Shabora neighborhood, injuring two persons—one of them critically, according to medical sources. A number of houses was also damaged in the shelling. Farmlands and empty fields were also attacked.

 

Khan Younis District:

 Israeli airstrikes resulted in the destruction of three houses, damage to 11 more, and injury of seven people, including one who was critically injured, according to medical sources.

 

Middle Gaza District:

 

At 2:30pm on 15 May 2021, Israeli air forces fired one missile at Zaher Atia Mohammed Anbar, 37, as he was driving his motorcycle in the east of Bureij refugee camp, killing him instantly.

 

At 4pm on 16 May 2021, Israeli artillery shelled different areas of the Middle Area district. One shell hit the house of Khaled Salem Hasan Al-Masalha, 49, located near Wadi Gaza Bridge in the north of Nuseirat refugee camp. The two-story, 150-square-meter house was home to 25 persons. The attack killed the owner and injured his wife and niece.

 

At 6:30pm on 15 May 2021, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced the death of Ahmed Iyad Ahmad Fotouh, 22, after succumbing to wounds he sustained from an airstrike on a car cleaning service located at the entrance of Al-Zawayda town. The airstrike took place at 10:40pm on 13 May 2021.

 

Gaza City District:

 

On 15 May 2021 at approximately 1:30pm, Israel’s air force fired a missile at Souk Al-Jomaa Street in Al-Shujaiya neighborhood, eastern Gaza City, killing 17-year-old Mohammed Ahmed Attiya and 18-year-old Saif Hani Abu Al-Atta.

 

On the same day at 3:15pm, Israel’s air force fired six missiles at the 12-story Al-Jalaa Tower in Gaza City, completely destroying it. Six of the tower’s floors were residential, while the other six housed commercial offices, law firms, and the local offices of news agencies, such as Al Jazeera and The Associated Press. Nearby buildings, including commercial establishments, sustained considerable damages.

 

At 6:50pm on the same evening, Israel’s air force fired a missile at a microbus on Al-Oyoun Street, in the west of Gaza City, killing 26-year-old Said Khaled Abu Ghalyoun.

 

At approximately 7pm, an Israeli airstrike targeted the 14-story Mushtaha Tower, southern Gaza City. The tower contains 48 apartments in total, two of which were completely destroyed in the airstrike, while nearby houses were damaged as a fire broke out following the airstrike. 

 

Similarly, at 11:20pm, Israel’s air force fired two missiles at the Islamic National Bank, located in an eight-story building belonging to Kazem Abu Shaban in Al-Rimal neighborhood. The airstrike completely destroyed the bank and inflicted considerable damage on the building, as well as its surroundings. 

 

At approximately 11:35pm, Israel’s air force targeted Al Andalus Tower with six missiles. Located near the seaport in western Gaza City, the 12-story tower contains 45 apartments, two of which were completely destroyed in the attack. Other apartments and nearby buildings were damaged.

 

In one of the most violent attacks since the start of Israel’s current military offensive, Israel’s air force launched a two-hour series of airstrikes, starting at 1am on 16 May 2021, against a number of residential buildings and paved roads. It is estimated that Israel’s air force used a total of 50 missiles in the airstrikes. Three buildings were completely destroyed, two of them residential and belonging to the Abu Al-Ouf and Al-Kolak families, while the third was the Gaza’s Ministry of Labor building. The shelling also caused severe damage to the following institutions and governmental sites: The Ministry of Social Development and the Palestinian Pension Agency in Gaza, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Al-Umaraa Architecture Office, the Ajjur building, a house belonging to the Matar family, the Al-Amal Institute for Orphans, and the Al-Amal Building.

 

With the main paved roads leading to Al-Shifa Hospital destroyed, the number of fatalities and casualties rose dramatically: as of now, 30 Palestinians, including 11 children and nine women were killed, while 50 others, including eight children and 15 women sustained injuries, mostly serious. These figures are likely to rise, as rescue crews continue to search for survivors and recover bodies from under the rubble. 

 

The fatalities were reported as follows: Tala Ayman Abu Al-Ouf, 13, Ayat Ibrahim Al-Kolak, 19, Fawaz Amin Al-Kolak, 62, Saadiya Yousef Al-Kolak, 84, Abdelhamid Fawaz Al-Kolak, 22, Ahmed Shukri Al-Kolak, 15, Dana Riyad Eshkuntana, 9, Sameh Fawaz Al-Kolak, 28, Riham Fawaz Al-Kolak, 32, Duaa Umar Al-Kolak, 38, Muin Ahmed Al-Aloul, 66, Baha Amin Al-Kolak, 48, Tawfik Ayman Abu Al-Ouf, 17, Abeer Nimer Ishnita, 29, Amal Jamil Al-Kolak, 42, Rawan Alaa Abu Al-Ouf, 19, Deema Rami Elefranji, 15, Mohammed Muin Al-Kolak, 41, Reem Ahmed Abu Al-Ouf, 40, Luay Mohammed Ouda, 54, Hazem Adel Al-Qumu, 48, Aymen Tawfik Abu Al-Ouf, 49, Izzat Muin Al-Kolak, 44, Adam Izzat Al-Kolak, 3, Qusai Sameh Al-Kolak, 6 months, Taher Shukri Al-Kolak, 23, Zaid Izzar Al-Kolak, 8, Zain Riyad Eshkuntana, 2, Yahya Riyad Eshkuntana, 4, Hana Shukri Al-Kolak, 14.  

 

This morning at 10:20am, Israel’s air force fired six missiles at Anas Bin Malek Residential Complex in Al-Yarmouk, eastern Gaza City. The complex has three seven-story buildings made up of 63 apartments in total. The entire complex was destroyed and nearby houses were severely damaged in the attack.

 

North Gaza District:

 

Israeli air forces and artillery attacked the main street in Beit Lahia City, which leads to the Indonesian Hospital, as well as houses in the district. During the attack, two houses were completely destroyed and three partially damaged. One person was killed and 26 were injured, including five women and ten children.

 

At 6:15pm on 15 May 2021, Israeli air forces fired one missile at a group of people on Old Gaza Street in Jabalia. Five people were injured in the attack and were taken to the Indonesian Hospital.

 

At 12:15am on 16 May 2021, Israeli air forces fired one missile at another group of people near Al-Qarim roundabout in Jabalia. Tareq Ziad Mustafa Abu Hmaidan, 19, was killed in the attack, and two others were injured—including one whose injury medical sources reported as critical.

 

Al Mezan continues reiterating its strongest condemnation of Israel’s clearly apparent war crimes against Palestinian civilians, and its emphasis that chronic inaction by the international community facilitates and perpetuates Israel’s continued and escalated violence in Gaza. To date, the civilian population, notably women and children, have not recovered from the devastating ramifications of previous military escalations, including Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in 2014. However, they now face yet another cycle of physical and psychological trauma, including through the loss of family members, colleagues, classmates and friends; house demolitions; displacement, and other collective punishment measures.

 

Accordingly, Al Mezan calls on the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take firm and swift action to protect Palestinians and ensure the respect of international law by Israel. Al Mezan expresses its deep concern about the postponement of the UN Security Council session, which has further emboldened Israel to commit more of what clearly amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

 

In light of extant evidence on apparent Israeli crimes, Al Mezan reiterates its call on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to urgently proceed with its investigation into the killing of civilians and targeting of civilian objects and with the enforcement of accountability for all those responsible for such crimes.

 

 

Tags / #IOF crimes #IHL #shelling