Day 8 of Israeli Offensive on Gaza: Non-Stop Bombing and Systematic Infrastructure Destruction

Source

Ref: 64/2021

Date: 17 May 2021

Time: 15:00 GMT

23 Palestinians Killed, Including 3 Women and 7 Children, and 53 Others Wounded, Including 8 Women and 18 Children,

Death Toll Mounts to 204, Including 59 Children and 34 Women, and Total Number of Injuries Rises to 836, Including 251 Children and 184 Women

For the 8th consecutive day, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued their offensive on the Gaza Strip, in violation of the basic principles of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL): necessity, proportionality and distinction. Tens of Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of intense airstrikes, along with artillery and gunboat shelling. The airstrikes targeted more houses and civilian facilities and intensified the destruction of roads and infrastructure, inflicting more casualties among Palestinian civilians and causing extensive damage to their properties.  As a result, IOF’s systematic destruction of streets and crossroads obstructed the movement of vehicles and ambulances, especially on roads leading to al-Shifa Hospital.

On Monday, IOF declared that the third phase of the military operation on the Gaza Strip has started and that 54 warplanes fired 110 missiles attacked 35 targets within 20 minutes, including 15 kilometer-tunnels; according to IOF’s claims, while the facts on the ground indicate that the airstrikes targeted more houses, facilities and streets.

The power outage crisis in the Gaza Strip aggravated as the electricity supply dropped to three to four hours a day that is inadequate for the vital facilities to provide services to the people of the Gaza Strip.  The Electricity Company stated that the components of the electricity distribution network sustained massive destruction as 5 main electric power transmission lines, which supply 60 megawatts, broke down since the beginning of the offensive while the rest lines break down from time to time and become out of service due to the airstrikes and destruction of many places.  The power plant warned that it would be forced to shut down this evening due to insufficient fuel supply. The Power Generating Company announced that “J4” electric power transmission line, which supplies Gaza City and passes through Street 8 and Street 10, sustained severe damage due to the intense airstrikes on the area.  As a result, electricity went off on vacant areas in the City.


The forced displacement of tens of thousands of residents from their houses in eastern Gaza Strip continued due to the violent artillery shelling as shelters were opened to receive them without so far providing the adequate circumstances. Also, almost all aspects of daily life have been disrupted due to the non-stop airstrikes.

Further to PCHR’s press release published yesterday, Israeli warplanes carried out hundreds of airstrikes while the Israeli gunboats and artillery shelled various and indiscriminate targets across the Gaza Strip. As a result, 23 Palestinians, including 3 women and 7 children, while 53 others, including 8 women and 18 children, were injured. Additionally, the airstrikes targeted 21 houses, several facilities, governmental headquarters and infrastructure on a wide scale. Thus, the number of targeted houses has risen to 115, including multi-story buildings and several towers.

Moreover, the death toll since the beginning of the Israeli offensive has risen to 204, including 59 children and 34 women, and the number of those wounded has risen to 836, including 251 children and 184 women.

According to the daily update by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the total number of injuries has risen to 1300, including 50 serious injuries. These large numbers of injuries have increased the burden on medical crews and the already exhausted healthcare system due to the Israeli-imposed closure and the outbreak of coronavirus in addition to the negative impact of power outage on the operation of laboratories, blood banks and surgeries, especially in light of the growing number of injuries. Also, during these days, Gaza hospitals rely on generators due to long hours of power outage, rendering hospitals in urgent need of constant supply of fuel.

The following are the most significant developments:

Northern Gaza:

Israeli warplanes carried out many airstrikes and Israeli artillery stationed along the border fence and gunboats stationed off shore fired many shells at the eastern and western areas of the governorate. As a result, 4 Palestinians were killed while 32 others, including 16 children and 4 women, were wounded. Also, the airstrikes targeted 13 houses; 7 were completely destroyed while others were partially destroyed. As a result a sponge company sustained serve damage while a hospital, a hotel, a mosque, public roads, and infrastructure sustained destruction.

At approximately 15:00, the Israeli artillery fired a shell at Jamal Hussain Khalil al-Shawish’s (62) house in central Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip. As a result, the house sustained damage.

At approximately 15:20, Israeli warplanes fired 2 missiles at a 4-story house belonging to Hamed al-Shembari (55), east of Beit Hanoun. As a result, the house and nearby houses sustained severe damage, but no casualties were reported.

At approximately 17:20, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a 2-story house belonging to Mohammed Fawzi Naser (47) in central Beit Hanoun. As a result, the house was completely destroyed.

At approximately 17:35, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a 2-story house belonging to Hussain Khalil Hussain Fayyad (44), east of Beit Hanoun, and completely destroyed it.

At approximately 18:00, the Israeli artillery fired a shell at a 2-story house belonging to Hitham Mohammed Abu ‘Osda (43), east of Beit Hanoun. As a result, fire broke out in the house.

At approximately 18:30, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a 2-story house belonging to Nabil Foad Mahmoud al-Masri (57) in central Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip. As a result, the house sustained damage.

At approximately 19:15, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a group of citizens in the center of Zaytun neighborhood in Beit Hanoun. As a result, 3 of them were killed namely Mo’ath Nabil Mohammed al-Za’aneen (27), Mohammed Yousef Mahmoud ‘Abdullah (31) and Mohammed ‘Awni ‘Abdullah al-Za’aneen (25).

At approximately 19:50, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at Belal Mustafa Yahiya ‘Asaliyia’s (30) house in central Jabalia, and completely destroyed it.

At approximately 20:20, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a 2-story house belonging to Mohammed Shehdah Mas’oud al-Moghrabi (52), east of Beit Hanoun. As a result, the house roof and walls sustained damage.

At approximately 20:50, Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a 3-story house belonging to Mahmoud Mohammed Ahmed Ba’lousha in al-Salateen neighborhood, west of Beit Lahia, and completely destroyed it.

At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 17 May 2021, the Israeli artillery fired at least 2 shells at Foam Co. Sponge Company near the former Civil Administration Headquarter on Salah al-Deen Street, east of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. As a result, a fire broke out in the area for 2 hours and civil defense crews rushed to extinguish the fire. No casualties were reported.

At approximately 08:30, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at Abdul Aziz al-Khaldi’s house. As a result, the 3-storey villa, southwest of al-Sudaniya, was completely destroyed and nearby houses, Mathaf Hotel, al-Khaldi Mosque and Hamad Rehabilitation and Prosthetics Hospital sustained damage.

At approximately 09:30, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at Fayez Ibrahim Mohammed Abu Ali’s house. As a result, the 3-storey house in Jabalia refugee camp was completely destroyed.

At approximately 10:15, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at Abdullah Abu Rayya’s house. As a result, the ground-floor house, located in Jabalia, was completely destroyed, and Husam Mohammed Othman Abu Harabeed (36), a commander in al-Quds Brigades, was killed, as IOF declared targeting him.

At approximately 10:30, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a group of citizens in al-Qasasib neighborhood in Jabalia. As a result, one of them was wounded and taken to the Indonesian Hospital, where his injury was reported moderate.

At approximately 10:45, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a house belonging to Yousef al-Liddawi’s sons in Jabalia. As a result, the roof of the 6-storey house sustained damage.

On Sunday evening and Monday morning and dawn, Israeli gunboats and tanks fired dozens of shells on east and west of the Gaza Strip. Additionally, a strong suffocating odor spread in the northern Gaza Strip governorate, but no casualties were reported.

Gaza City:

Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes on various targets across the city. As a result, a Palestinian was killed and 12 others were wounded, including 3 women and 5 children. The airstrikes targeted 5 residential multi-story buildings, main roads and vital streets, security sites belonging to the Ministry of Interior, sites belonging to the Palestinian Resistance, public facilities, shops and a civilian. On the other hand, the civil Defense crews retrieved 13 dead bodies, including 3 women and 7 children, from under the rubble of their houses on al-Wehda Street.

On Sunday, 16 May 2021, medical and Civil Defense crews pulled out 13 dead bodies, including 3 women and 7 children, from under the rubble of their houses on al-Wehda Street, raising the number of deaths to 43, most of them were children and women.

The deaths were: Subhiya Isma’el Hussain Abu al-Ouf (73), Ameen Mohammed Hamad al-Qolaq (90), Tawfiq Isma’el Hussain Abu al-Ouf (80) and his wife, Majdiya Khalil Hussain Abu al-Ouf (82), Raja’ Subhi Isma’el al-Ifranji “Abu al-Ouf and  3 of her children, Mira Rami Riyad al-Ifranji (12), Yazan (13), Ameer (9), and Hala Mohammed Mo’een al-Qolaq (13), and her sister, Yara (10), Rola (6) and Lana (4) Riyad Hasan Shkontana, and Mohammed Ahmed Musbah Ikki (40).

At approximately 18:50, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at Ali Mousa Mohammed Affana’s (64) house, north of Gaza City. As a result, the 5-storey house (200 sqms), which included 10 apartments and sheltered 10 families, including 11 women and 21 children, was completely destroyed. It should be noted that Israeli Intelligence Services phone called the neighbors and ordered them to evacuate the house as it would be targeted.

At approximately 19:30, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at Abdul Kareem Isma’el Ibrahim al-Ashram’s (60) house in al-Sabra neighborhood, south of the Gaza City. As a result, the 6-storey house (400 sqms) sheltering 7 families, including 12 women and 16 children, sustained severe destruction in the 3rd, 4th and fifth floors. It should be noted that Israeli Intelligence Services called the neighbors and ordered them to evacuate.

At approximately 21:00, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at Jamal Attiya Hamdiya’s (62) house in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood. As a result, the 4-storey house and a nearby 3-storey house belonging to Mohammed Sa’eed Khalil al-Manasra, sheltering 5 families, was completely destroyed. It should be noted that the Israeli Intelligence Services phone called the neighbors and ordered them to evacuate.

At approximately 00:15 on Monday, 17 May 2021, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at Mohammed Ahmed Saleh al-Dairi’s (47) house in al-Sabra neighborhood. As a result, the 4-storey house (500 sqms), comprised of 16 apartments and sheltering 17 families of 115 members, was completely destroyed. It should be noted that Israeli Intelligence Services phone called the neighbors and ordered them to evacuate.

After 5 minutes, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at Hamdiya Othman Abdul Rahman Hamdan’s (60) house in al-Sabra neighborhood. As a result, the 3-storey house comprised of 3 apartments (each is 200 sqms) sheltering 3 families, including 6 women and 6 children, was completely destroyed, and nearby houses sustained partial damage. It should be noted that the Israeli Intelligence Services phone called the residents and ordered them to evacuate.

At approximately 01:00 and for an hour, Israeli warplanes carried out a huge number of intense airstrikes on Gaza City targeting main roads and infrastructures on al-Rasheed Street and other streets, in addition to destroying main roads and streets, which connect Tal al-Hawa neighborhood with al-Sheikh Ijlin neighborhood.  Moreover, the tourist facilities along the Gaza seaside sustained severe damage while nearby residential buildings and towers sustained partial damage.  Many security sites in Ansar Security Compound, west of Gaza City.

At approximately 12:30, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a civilian car travelling near Abu Hasira crossroad, west of Gaza City. As a result, the driver, Adeeb Sa’eed Deeb al-Sourani (43), was killed.

Around the same time, Israeli warplanes launched a missile at a group of citizens who were near the Maldives Coffeshop at Gaza seaside. As a result, 2 of them were killed, and nearby tourist facilities sustained severe damage.

Central Gaza Strip:

Israeli warplanes carried out several airstrikes on different parts of the central Gaza Strip.  They targeted houses, agricultural and vacant lands, and military sites.  As a result, a house was completely destroyed and dozens of houses near the targeted places sustained partial damage.  Moreover, a child and a woman were wounded.

At approximately 03:40 on Monday, 17 May 2021, Israeli warplanes launched 3 missiles at a house belonging to the heirs of Tawfiq al-Fallit in Deir al-Balah. As a result, the 2-storey house (250 sqms), which sheltered 4 families of 18 members, including 9 children and 3 women, was completely destroyed, while 5 nearby houses sustained partial damage.

At approximately 08:00, the Israeli artillery launched several shells at a vacant land, east of Deir al-Balah. As a result, a child sustained shrapnel wounds and a woman suffocated.

IOF continued to fire artillery shells in the eastern side of the city, setting the agricultural fields on fire.

Khan Younis

IOF carried out several airstrikes on different parts of the city.  The airstrikes targeted a house and completely destroyed it, causing damage to nearby houses, a kindergarten and agricultural lands.  As a result, 6 were wounded, including a child, and the injury of one of them was reported serious.

At approximately 15:55 on Sunday, 16 May 2021, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at a house belonging to Mazen Fayeq Shlash Shbeir in central Khan Younis and completely destroyed it, causing severe damage to the nearby houses and partial damage to the Islamic Complex Kindergartens near it.  It should be noted that few days ago an Israeli drone fired a missile at the 150-sqm house of 3 floors that was home to 3 families of 15 members, including 3 women and 9 children.

At approximately 21:05, an Israeli drone fired a missile at an agricultural land in al-Mawasi in western Khan Younis.  As a result, four were wounded, including a child, when they were near their houses.  The injury of one of them was reported serious while the rest injuries were moderate.

At approximately 22:10, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a group of citizens in al-Fokhari area.  As a result, two sustained moderate wounds.

At approximately 12:22, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a group of citizens in ‘Abasan al-Jadidah.  As a result, Ahmed Fayez Hasan ‘Arafat (29), from the village, were killed while another sustained minor wounds.

IOF continued to fire artillery shells at eastern Khan Younis, setting fire to the agricultural lands.  Moreover, the gunboats sporadically shelled the seaside.

Rafah:

Israeli warplanes carried out several airstrikes on different targets in Rafah City, where 10 missiles were launched.  The airstrikes targeted a house, 5 trucks, a bulldozer, agricultural lands, streets and roads. As a result, two were killed.  Moreover, the Israeli artillery intensely fired shells, smoke grenades and sound bombs.

At approximately 18:45 on Sunday, 16 May 2021, an Israeli drone fired a missile at an agricultural land in Msabeh neighborhood, north of Rafah.  As a result, Tariq Mahmoud Qasem al-Qadi (39) and Sameh Jihad Sameh al-Qadi (23) were killed. 

At approximately 07:30 on Monday, 17 May 2021, IOF fired artillery shells at houses in al-Shokah village in eastern Rafah.  As a result, one of the shells hit a house belonging to Mohammed Safa Mohammed Abu Sheiban, and fire broke out in the first floor.  The neighbors managed to extinguish the fire, and no casualities were reported.  The Civil Defense vehicles could not reach the area due to the intense artillery shelling and lack of coordination with ICRC to enter the area.

At approximately 13:30, IOF fired artillery shells at houses in al-Naser village, northeast of Rafah.  As a result, a number of trucks and a bulldozer belonging to al-‘Attar Family were hit and burnt.  No injuries were reported.

Since the morning IOF stationed along the border fence in eastern Rafah fired artillery shells, sound bombs and smoke grenades at houses, agricultural lands and streets in al-Shokah and al-Naser village, north and east of Rafah City, causing fear among civilians.  As a result, 5000 civilians were forced to leave and seek refuge in 5 UNRWA schools, noting that they forcibly entered the schools without the guards’ approval while no services were provided by the UNRWA and the donations were provided by local societies and benefactors.

PCHR strongly condemns IOF’s use of mass explosive power, which proves Israel’s intention to inflict harm on Palestinian civilians in disregard for IHL principles of distinction and proportionality through killing and massacring entire families.

PCHR’s investigations indicate that IOF has effectively classified civilians as legitimate military targets, in violation of IHL principles. PCHR renews its warning that civilians are paying the heaviest price during the escalation and emphasizes that IOF’s ongoing strikes on residential populated areas and the use of weapons based on collective retaliation constitute grave breaches of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 that amount to war crimes.

 PCHR warns of further deterioration in the Palestinian civilians’ humanitarian conditions; either those displaced or those whose houses were demolished, as they have become homeless and sought refuge in schools in degrading and inhuman conditions. Thus, PCHR calls upon th international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to act urgently in order to end all IOF’s military hostilities and to provide protection for the civilians in light of the grave violations of the international humanitarian law, including murders and large-scale destruction of civilian objects and property.   PCHR also calls upon the international community and all UN bodies and agencies to take all measures necessary to stop the mass forced displacement of Gaza Strip’s civilians that is conducted by IOF through applying the scorched-earth policy across the Gaza Strip, particularly in the northern part.  PCHR calls upon the International humanitarian organizations to provide the humanitarian needs of the displaced civilians, including food, clothes, water and potable water, and hygiene services.

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