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Days 3-4: Israel’s Massacre of Civilians in Gaza Continues Unabated in the Silence of the International Community
11، Oct 2023

For the third day, the Israeli military continued their military offensive against Gaza. The third day saw the largest number and most violent attacks against the civilian population in Gaza and against civilian objects, especially homes, which are supposed to be protected under international humanitarian law. The Israeli authorities used weapons with the capacity to cause large-scale destruction, resulting in significant loss of life and property.  Entire families were wiped out, and the attacks affected dozens of high-rise residential buildings, destroying or defacing entire residential neighborhoods. Homes and private facilities were attacked together with public buildings such as ministries, universities, schools, businesses, media agencies and hospitals. The state of the total siege was preserved, with supplies of electricity, water, fuel, food, and medicine cut off. Such acts constitute a serious breach of international norms and conventions. 


The Israeli military forces intensified their aerial bombing across the entire Gaza Strip; no area was spared. Entities with special protected status and indispensable for the survival of the civilian population Gaza, were targeted, including ambulances, arterial roads, electricity networks, water and sewage networks, waste treatment sites, municipal buildings, agricultural lands, and livestock. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of 8 a.m. on 11 October, the military attacks have killed 950 Palestinians and injured 5,000 others. Thousands of homes and private and public properties were destroyed. 


On 10 October 2023, a spokesperson of the Israeli army “[in Gaza] the emphasis is on damage not accuracy". This statement appears as an admission of intent to commit a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population and commit war crimes and other grave international crimes against the civilian population in Gaza.


The following are the most severe Israeli attacks carried out in Gaza between midday on 9 October and midday on 10 October 2023, as monitored and documented jointly by Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: 


In the North Gaza District, Israeli military forces targeted four houses belonging to Nasser Abu Obeid, the late Abdulrahim Al-Madhouns’ sons, Mahmoud Dahalan, and Mahmoud Al-Masri. Civil defence and ambulance teams managed to recover seven Palestinians from the rubble, including three children and a woman. There are also reports indicating that there are still bodies or survivors under the rubble of the Al-Madhoun and the Al-Masri homes. 


In Gaza City, Israeli forces conducted a series of airstrikes on residential neighborhoods, accompanied by intense shelling from artillery and naval vessels. Most of the bombing targeted the Ansar, Tal Al-Hawa, Al-Rimal, Al-Sheja’eyya, Al-Zaytoun, and Al-Sabra areas. These are densely populated neighborhoods with a significant number of shops and facilities, institutions, and other public facilities. The Al-Rimal neighborhood, which is in the center of Gaza City, is considered the city’s commercial and financial center. The intensive bombardment caused damage to infrastructure and water and electricity grids, and the destruction of entire neighborhoods and multi-story houses. Prominent among the facilities destroyed due to the attacks are the Islamic University headquarters, the Ministry of Awqaf (Endowments), the Ministry of Finance, the Palestinian Bar Association, the Ministry of Culture, and the headquarters of the Palestinian Telecommunications Company. Furthermore, Israeli forces targeted the Al-Badrsawi building adjacent to Al-Shifa Hospital and destroyed it completely. The attack also caused damage to the paediatric unit in Al-Shifa Hospital. The attacks on residential houses, including the Al-Helo, Dalloul, Al-Loulou, Hassouna, and Madi families, killed 62 Palestinians, including women and children. Three journalists were also killed in the bombing of the Babel building in Institutions Street near Gaza port. The search for survivors or bodies under the rubble is still ongoing. 


In the Middle Area District, Israeli forces targeted several houses and apartments belonging to the Abu Dan, Hassan, Adwan families, and others. The attacks killed 27 Palestinians, including 15 children and six women.


In Khan Younis, Israeli forces targeted several houses and apartments belonging to the Al-Najjar, Al-Astal, Qannan, Al-Lahham, Al-Hila, and Qudeih families. The attacks killed 58 Palestinians, including 23 children and 19 women. Israeli forces also targeted several ambulances during attempts to rescue casualties. They targeted the Khan Younis Municipality building in the city center, completely destroying it, and killing a number of Palestinians in the vicinity. The search for survivors under the debris is still ongoing.


In Rafah, Israeli forces targeted the house and agricultural lands of the Al-Sheikh Eid family, killing 11 Palestinians, including four children and two women.  


The search for bodies and survivors in the rubble continues. Furthermore, Israeli forces bombed the Rafah border crossing gate between Gaza and Egypt for the second time, the result of which is that no one can enter or leave Gaza via this crossing. 


The ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death and injuries of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, coupled with the severe blockade and closure, are pushing the humanitarian situation to the brink of collapse. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH), ten medical facilities, including seven government hospitals, have been damaged due to Israeli attacks. Additionally, 12 ambulances, five of which belong to the MOH, were targeted, killing five medical personnel.  


Amid the ongoing offensive, healthcare facilities are struggling to deliver essential treatment and care to the thousands affected. The situation is exacerbated by power shortages and the unavailability of essential drugs and supplies for emergency departments and operating rooms. The full closure of crossings in and out of Gaza further endangers the lives of patients, particularly those undergoing treatment for cancer, as they are denied access to life-saving medical treatment outside Gaza.


The destruction caused by the Israeli military attacks on roads, water supplies and sewage networks, telephone landlines, and internet lines has caused the inhabitants of Gaza enormous suffering.  Municipalities are struggling to repair the damage,  limited by a lack of materials and funds. The targeting of companies responsible for providing services, such as the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, adds to the difficulties in maintaining essential services. Moreover, the acute shortage of fuel and cutting off water and electricity impede the provision of clean water to the population. The lack of capacity to treat wastewater, and the accumulation of garbage in residential areas pose significant health and environmental risks.


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced that the number of internally displaced persons has increased to 187,518 in 83 of its schools across the Gaza Strip. UNRWA highlighted difficulties in providing water. Additionally, 18 UNRWA facilities sustained damage due to Israeli attacks.


Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip targeted and killed journalists and destroyed media institutions. As reported by the Gaza Government Media Office, seven journalists have been killed during Israeli airstrikes, with another ten sustaining various injuries. Media headquarters located in multi-story buildings, such as the Watan Tower, were destroyed, and the homes of some journalists were also targeted.


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Al-Haq and Al Mezan condemn in the strongest terms Israel's aggression on Gaza and the crimes committed against civilians, including the widespread and systematic targeting of civilian structures and properties, which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Our organizations denounce the intensified attacks carried out on densely populated areas, and the strict closure and cutting off of supplies of electricity, fuel, water, food and medicine, which threatens the survival of the more than 2 million people living in the Gaza Strip.


Our organizations renew our call on the international community, especially those party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to urgently intervene and take concrete steps to stop the killing and indiscriminate targeted attacks on the civilian population in Gaza, and prevent the imminent starvation and humanitarian catastrophe. We call on the international community to put pressure on the Israeli Government to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law. We ask for international protection for civilians, and mechanisms to ensure the movement of humanitarian relief to the Gaza Strip to stop the deterioration of the humanitarian situation on the ground.


We call on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, based on the Rome Statute, to investigate Israeli crimes, especially targeting homes and killing entire families, and to prosecute and hold accountable every individual who has carried out or ordered the commission of these crimes.


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