Israel’s air and artillery forces continue to target residential buildings, agricultural lands, vital infrastructure, and governmental sites as Israel’s military offensive against the Gaza Strip enters its ninth consecutive day. An Israeli airstrike partially destroyed Al-Rimal clinic—Gaza’s only laboratory for processing COVID-19 tests—and the administrative building of the Ministry of Health in Gaza. The attack inflicted injuries on medical personnel and rendered the laboratory inoperable. Al Mezan’s field monitoring shows that in the past 24 hours alone, Israel’s attacks killed seven Palestinians, including a child and a woman. Another 121 people, including 49 children and 31 women, were wounded. Israeli forces also completely destroyed 18 residential buildings.
Al Mezan’s field monitoring also shows that the ninth day of Israel’s military offensive raised the number of Palestinian fatalities to 213, including 62 children and 36 women (just over 45% of victims), while another 1,030, including 218 children and 159 women (36.6% of victims), suffered injuries. The number of residential buildings targeted now stands at 122, including six towers—three of which were completely destroyed—with Israel ultimately destroying 402 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.
According to Al Mezan’s field monitoring and documentation in the past 24 hours:
In the afternoon on Monday, 17 May 2021, Palestinian civil defense and rescue teams evacuated the body of Shaima Alaa Sobhi Abu Al-Ouf, 21, from the under the rubble of the Abu Ouf building that Israeli air forces targeted two days ago. The attack caused many casualties, including fatalities, as well as the complete destruction of the building.
In the evening of the same day, medical sources at Al-Shifa hospital reported the arrival of two bodies, belonging to Mohammed Jamal Ali Abu Samaan, 24, and Mohammed Hasan Hasan Abu Samaan, 31, whom Israeli air forces targeted at 12:30pm on 17 May 2021 while they were near the Maldives café in west Gaza City. The death toll of this attack has now risen to four.
At 5:10pm on 17 May 2021, Israeli air forces attacked with three missiles the Mashariq building, affiliated with the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs. The six-story building, located near the Ansar complex in west Gaza City, housed corporate and commercial offices. The building was substantially damaged in the attack. Israeli air forces then attacked it again, at 1:35am on Tuesday, 18 May 2021, completely destroying it.
At 5:35pm on 17 May 2021, Israeli air forces fired one missile at a group of people near Hammouda Clinic, a private medical practice, toward the middle of Beit Lahia Street in the North Gaza District. Two people were killed in the attack: Ahmed Ziad Hussein Sabbah, 28, and Mohammed Natheer Mohammed Abu Oun, 18. Other people suffered light wounds.
At 5:45pm on the same day, Israeli air forces fired one missile at the upper floor of Ghazi Al-Shawwa building on Al-Wihda Street in the middle of Gaza City. The six-story building housed corporate and commercial offices as well as private medical practices. Two persons, one of them a child, were killed: Ziad Kamel Abudllah Abu Dayer, 45, and his niece Rahaf Morshid Kamel Abu Dayer, 10, both residents of a building adjacent to the Al-Shawwa building. The upper floors of the Al-Shawwa building were completely destroyed. The building and facilities of the Ministry of Health and Shuhada Al-Rimal clinic were also substantially damaged in the attack, as were Al-Amal building, the office of Al-Amal Orphanage Society, and several commercial shops and houses nearby.
Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s continued disproportionate use of force and deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure as an integral part of its military offensive in Gaza.
Al Mezan is equally concerned as COVID-19 testing has come to a halt following an Israeli airstrike that damaged Gaza’s sole laboratory and the Ministry of Health. With the unsteady supply of medical equipment and the health sector standing on the brink of collapse due to Israel’s prolonged closure on Gaza and repeated attacks on vital infrastructure, a worsening environmental crisis is expected to emerge.
Al Mezan also condemns Israel’s chronic impunity, which has further been emboldened by the United States obstructing a Security Council statement on 16 May 2021 regarding Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
In this regard, Al Mezan stresses that swift and firm action by the international community is critical to ensure Israel’s respect for the protection entitled to civilians in times of war.