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Civilians in the Gaza Strip Fall Victim to Indiscriminate Israeli Missiles
-[31 March - 6 April] - Ref.: 35/2014
10، Apr 2014

On 4 April, Israeli aircrafts fired six missiles on three separate locations in the Gaza Strip. The missiles targeted Palestinian farming land located south of al-Mighraqa village in the central governorate, as well as a car garage and a steel company, both located in Jabaliyya, in the north of the Strip.

‘Oudeh Moustafa al-Hamran – Jabaliyya al-Balad – North Gaza governorate

‘Oudeh, 23, works in al-Salam car garage in Jabaliyya, north of Gaza city, which is owned by his father. On Friday 4 April, ‘Oudeh heard the sound of heavy explosions near his house, which is located close to the shop. Shortly afterwards, his father received a phone call from one of the neighbours who informed him that their garage had been hit by two Israeli missiles. ‘Oudeh, his siblings and his father immediately headed towards the shop to find that it had caught fire and had suffered immense damage due to the airstrike. The Palestinian Civil Defence crew arrived at the site and with some difficulty eventually managed to extinguish the fire.

The shop was severely damaged and most of the machinery in it was destroyed. In addition, five cars that had been parked in the shop for repair were burnt and damaged, two of which were owned by ‘Oudeh’s father. ‘Oudeh and his siblings estimate the material loss to amount to approximately USD 70,000.

Al-Salam_car_garage_after_the_attackAs a result of the Israeli airstrike on their garage, the al-Hamran family lost their only source of income. According to ‘Oudeh, the family does not belong to any political or militant group. They were consequently shocked to hear that the Israeli authorities justified the attack by stating that it was in retaliation to rockets previously fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli towns. The family does not see any connection between the previous rockets and the attack on their garage. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9508/2014)

 Shadi Ramadan al-Tatar – al-Mighraqa village – Central governorate

Shadi, 31, lives with his wife and seven children in a first floor apartment in a three-storey building owned and inhabited by the rest of his family. In total, there are 40 members of Shadi’s extended family living in the building, including 28 children.

At approximately 1:00 am on 4 April, Shadi heard heavy explosions followed by the prolonged sound of Israeli aircrafts soaring over the area. He immediately looked through the window and saw a fire, approximately 1500 metres away. He continued watching through the window for five minutes and then shut it. He remained in the house and turned on the television to watch the news, while continuing to hear Israeli aircrafts in the air.

At approximately 1:30 am, Shadi’s wife asked him to open the windows in the house so that they wouldn’t shatter should more shelling take place in the area. While Shadi was doing so, he saw a flaming object flying through the sky, before landing north east of the house, creating a red glow. Moments later, Shadi heard a heavy explosion that shook the house and forced him to the ground. At the same time, he heard the sound of windows shattering and his children screaming in the adjacent room. Shadi immediately went to check on them. When he moved, Shadi felt a pain in his head and then realised that he was bleeding from both his head and shoulder. When Shadi’s wife saw the blood she began yelling for help. Upon hearing this, Shadi’s brothers came down to the apartment and called an ambulance.

Meanwhile, they could all hear their sister in law screaming from the second apartment - also located on the ground floor - that her five month old infant had been injured. Shadi and his siblings rushed to the apartment to find the baby injured and bleeding from behind his left ear. The ambulance arrived approximately ten minutes later and Shadi and the infant were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city. They were examined and treated in the hospital before being released a few hours later. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9509/2014)

In carrying out strikes against the Gaza Strip, Israel is bound by the provisions of international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Regulations and customary international humanitarian law. As such, Al-Haq demands that Israel abide by the cardinal principle of distinction, which requires all parties to a conflict to distinguish between civilians and civilian objects, the targeting of which is strictly prohibited, and combatants and military objectives. In both of the above-mentioned cases, the buildings attacked were civilian in nature. As such, Al-Haq calls upon the Israeli authorities to immediately bring an end to the practice of indiscriminate attacks in the Gaza Strip and to investigate and punish these acts in accordance with the standards set by international law.