The eighth day of Israel’s military offensive against the Gaza Strip—again featuring an increasing disproportionate use of force and deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure—resulted in 25 new fatalities, including seven children and three women, and 60 injuries, including 31 children and seven women. In the past 24 hours, Israeli airstrikes completely destroyed 13 residential buildings in different densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip, resulting in mass evacuations and the displacement of hundreds of Palestinian families. As the international community consistently fails to act, Israel continues to blatantly violate norms of international law.
Al Mezan’s field monitoring shows that Israel’s offensive has so far resulted in the death of 206 Palestinians, including 60 children and 34 women; 909 others have been injured in the attacks, including 193 children and 144 women (just over 37% of the victims). The number of residential buildings targeted now stands at 94, including six towers—three of which were completely destroyed—ultimately destroying 371 residential units. In addition, hundreds of private properties, as well as tens of governmental sites, schools, banks, and mosques have sustained significant damages. Israel’s airstrikes have also led to the large-scale destruction of power and water networks, as well as thousands of square meters of vital paved roads.
On 16 May 2021, Palestinian civil defense and rescue teams recovered 13 bodies, including six children and three women, from under the rubble of destroyed houses belonging to the Abu Ouf and Al-Qolaq families. Both houses are located on Al-Wihda Street in the middle of Gaza City. The total number of people killed in the airstrikes in Al-Wihda square has now reached 43, of them 18 children and 12 women. The new fatalities are: Sobaiha Ismail Hussein Abu Al-Ouf, 73, Amin Mohammed Hamad Al-Qolaq, 90, Mira Rami Riyad Al-Ifranji, 11, Majdiya Khalil Hussein Abo Al-Ouf, 82, Amir Rami Riyad Al-Ifranji, 19, Rajaa Sobhi Ismail Al-Ifranji, 41, Yazin Rami Riyad Al-Ifranji, 13, Mohammed Ahmed Musbah Ikki, 40, Rola Mohammed Moeen Al-Qolaq, 15, Hala Mohammed Moeen Al-Qolaq, 12, Yara Mohammed Moeen Al-Qolaq, 9, Lana Riyad Hasan Ishknta, 4, and Tawfiq Ismail Hussein Abu Al-Ouf, 79.
At 7:15pm on Sunday, 16 May 2021, Israeli air forces fired one missile at a group of people in the middle of Al-Zeitoun neighborhood in Beit Hanoun City, killing three people: Moath Nabil Mohammed Al-Zaanin, 27, Mohammed Yousef Mahmoud Abdullah, 31, and Mohammed Awni Abdullah Al-Zaanin, 25. The first two victims were taken to Beit Hanoun hospital, while the third was taken to the Indonesian Hospital in the same district. According to medical sources, the three fatalities were caused by shrapnel that hit different parts of their bodies.
At 10:15am on Monday, 17 May 2021, Israeli air forces fired two missiles at the house of Abudllah Abu Rayya. The one-story house was located on Al-Ajarmah Street in Jabalia refugee camp in the North Gaza district. The attack killed Hussam Mohammed Othman Abu Harbid, 36, and resulted in the complete destruction of the targeted house as well as in damage to nearby houses.
Between 1:00am and 2:00am on Monday, 17 May 2021, Israeli air forces launched a series of consecutive attacks using many missiles on Al-Rashid Street in west Gaza City. The attacks targeted the area of the street beginning at Al-Nabulsi roundabout and ending at the roundabout connecting ten streets with Al-Rashid. The attacks resulted in the destruction of Al-Rashid Street, Sheikh Ijleen corniche, and a number of small shops. Main and other roads nearby were also targeted in the attacks, causing partial damage to the residential buildings, commercial shops, and public properties there.
At 12:30pm on the same day, Israeli air forces fired one missile at two people walking on farmland near their house in the Abasan Al-Jadida area in the Khan Younis district. One of them, Ahmed Fayez Hasan Arafat, 29, was killed, while the other suffered light injuries.
At the same time, Israeli air forces fired one missile at a car on Abu Hassira Street in west Gaza City. The attack resulted in the killing of Adib Saeed Deeb Al-Sourani, 43.
On the same day, at 12:30pm, Israel’s air force fired a missile at a group of people near Al- Maldives Gaza Restaurant, western Gaza City, killing two men. The victims’ identities have not been identified due to the severity of their wounds.
Soon after, Israel’s air forces targeted a house belonging to the Al-Baz family in Deir Al-Balah, in the Middle Gaza district. Yousef Rafik Al-Baz, 13, was killed, while his brother, Ramadan, 16, was severely wounded according to medical sources at Aqsa Hospital.
Al Mezan continues reiterating its strongest condemnation of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and stresses that the international community must call on Israel to swiftly cease all violent attacks against civilians and objects vital to civilians in Gaza. Similarly, the international community must ensure that Israel end all forms of illegal collective punishment against Palestinians, notably the comprehensive closure on Gaza, including by reopening Kerem Shalom crossing and lifting the ban on the entry of fuel, food, and medical supplies to Gaza.
Al Mezan also stresses that swift and firm action by the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention is critical to ensure Israel’s respect for the protection entitled to civilians in times of war. Similarly, international agencies and civil society organizations around the world must continue their lobbying and advocacy efforts to drive effective governmental reaction in their designated countries, aiming at upholding international human rights and humanitarian law principles in the occupied Palestinian territories.