In the evening hours on Tuesday, 21 March 2017, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired several artillery shells targeting a group of Palestinian civilians in eastern Rafah. As a result, one child was killed and another person was injured.
According to monitoring and documentation conducted by Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, at approximately 11:55 pm on Tuesday, 21 March 2017, Israeli tanks fired 15 artillery shells at Palestinian lands that located in the eastern parts of Rafah. It later became clear that the Israeli forces targeted a group of Palestinians who were in that area.
Paramedics rushed to the area and managed to reach casualties about an hour after the shelling took place. Roughly 500 meters from the eastern border, they found Mohamed Waheed Atallah Al Ekir, 25, with shrapnel wounds in his chest and abdomen; his condition was later described as severe by doctors at the Abu Yousif Al Najar Hospital. Paramedics also retrieved the body of Yousif Shaban Ahmed Abu Athra, 16, who had been killed after sustaining injuries to his head.
Al Mezan strongly condemns IOF’s continued targeting of civilians, and considers IOF’s blatant violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights law a natural consequence to the failure of the international community to fulfill their legal and moral obligations to protect civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in general, including the Gaza Strip.
Al Mezan stresses that the escalating Israeli violations as well as the continued closure constitute a serious breach of human rights.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to fulfill their legal obligations under international law and move to protect and empower civilians to seize their right to self-determination as a first step towards ending Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. Al Mezan reaffirms that the silence and failure of the international community to appropriately address Israel’s systematic and grave violations is only encouraging IOF to commit further violations.