Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have killed six activists of the Palestinian resistance and have wounded four others and six civilians, including two children and a journalist, in the context of an offensive on al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip that has been ongoing since Thursday morning, 5 July 2007. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, IOF have prevented Palestinian medical crews from attending the wounded.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 02:30 on Thursday, 5 July 2007, an IOF infantry unit moved nearly 1,000 meters into al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. IOF troops clashed with activists of the Palestinian resistance. In these clashes, three resistance activists were killed:
1) Mohammed Nayef 'Owaidat, 24;2) Ahmed Suleiman al-Qrainawi, 23; and3) Mohammed Jawad Siam, 35.
Later, military reinforcements, including aircrafts, arrived at the area to support the infantry unit. IOF raided a number of houses and transformed them into military sites. At approximately 04:30, an ambulance of Palestine Red Crescent Society moved towards the area as it received information that people were wounded in the area. IOF fired at the ambulance and held it medical crew, consisting of 'Azmi Hisham Abu Dala, 25, and Mohammed Khamis al-Salhi, 39, inside a house for four hours. IOF then released the medical crew, but kept the ambulance in the area. At approximately 11:00, a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance clashed with IOF. Soon, IOF fired an artillery shell at them. As a result, two resistance activists were instantly killed and a third one was wounded, but died from his wound at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City:
1) Mohammed Subhi Nour, 23;2) Mohammed 'Awadh Abu Gharqoud, 22; and3) Ahmed Nabeel Abu Jild, 21.
Additionally, six civilians, including two children and a cameraman of al-Aqsa Television, and four resistance activists were wounded by the IOF gunfire. Preliminary investigation conducted by PCHR's team revealed that the cameraman, Emad Ghanem, 22, was shot deliberately. Ghanem was first shot and fell down on the ground before he was shot for the second time while laying on the ground beside his camera. He currently suffers severe wounds as his both legs were amputated. IOF have also razed areas of agricultural land and have destroyed a number of roads. The IOF military operation is still ongoing, which threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians.
PCHR is gravely concerned over this latest escalation by IOF, and:
1) Condemns these latest crimes, which are part of a series of continuous crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, considering them a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949.
2) Points out that IOF do not pay attention to the principles of necessity and proportionality in using their full-fledged arsenal in civilian populated areas.
3) Calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop such crimes, and calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to search for and prosecute those who are responsible for perpetrating grave breaches of the Convention, as such breaches constitute war crimes according to Article 147 of the Convention and the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I).
By Palestinian Centre for Human Rights