July 14, 2014
Date: 13 July 2014
Gaza Diaries: 1
In a continuation of the direct air attack on houses, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired two heavy missiles at the houses of the Al Batsh family and killed 18 family members. There was no warning given to the residents prior to theattack. Al Mezan condemns this war crime and insists that those who ordered and committed the attack be prosecuted.
According to the initial investigations by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, IOF warplanes fired two missiles at the house of Majid Subhi Al Batsh, 50, in the At Tuffah neighborhood east of Gaza City. The attack destroyed the house completely, along with two adjacent houses that belong to Majid’s three brothers, No’man and Alaa’ and Issam.
Seventeen people were killed in this attack, including six children and three women. Another sixteen were injured, of whom three women and three children. Four of the injured are in critical condition. All the victims are from the Al Batsh family. Major General Tayseer Al Batsh is among the injured. He sustained critical wounds as he was visiting his cousins when the attack took place.
Al Mezan has identified the names of the casualties as follows:
– Majid Subhi Al Batsh, 50;
– Khalid Majid Al Batsh, 20; (Majid’s son)
– Manar Majid Al Batsh, 13; (Majid’s son)
– Ibrahim Majid Al Batsh, 18; (Majid’s son)
– Jalal Subhi Al Batsh, 26;
– Mahmoud Majid Al Batsh, 20; ; (Majid’s son)
– Marwa Majid Al Batsh, 7; (Majid’s daughter)
– Baha’ Majid Al Batsh, 28; ; (Majid’s son)
– Amal Hassan Al Batsh, 49; ; (Majid’s wife)
– Samah Alaa’ Al Batsh, 20; (Baha’s pregnant wife)
– Amal Alaa’ Al Batsh, 1.5; (Samah’s daughter);
– Nahidh Na’eem Al batsh, 41, (visiting his cousins)
– Aziza Yousef Al Batsh, 59; (next door neighbor)
– Qusai Issam Al Batsh, 12; (next door neighbor)
– Mohammed Issam Al Batsh, 17; (next door neighbor)
– Yehia Alaa’ Al Batsh, 18; (Samah’s brother)
– Anas Alaa’ Al Batsh, 7, (Samah’s brother).
According to a testimony given to Al Mezan by Ahmad Nu’man Al Batsh, 26, who was injured in the attack, and who lives next to his uncle Majid’s house, he and his family were in their house watching the news at 10pm. His cousin, Tayseer, came to visit. Ahmad said, “my cousins always gather in one of our three homes when the electricity is on… we were 17 in our house; men, women and children”. Ahmed suggested that they pray the ‘Isha prayer together, which they did. “Just after we finished the prayer, there was a huge explosion and I fell on the ground hardly able to breath,” he said. “There was screaming around me in the dark and as I tried to find my way, I was touching bodies and parts of bodies laid on the ground”.
This attack comes in the context of targeted attacks on houses by the IOF; often with residents inside them and frequently without any warning. Attacks that target civilian objects are prohibited under international law and constitute war crimes, with or without warnings. Al Mezan condemns this attack with the strongest terms and calls for the prosecution of those who ordered or perpetrated the attack.
Al Mezan’s field investigations indicate that as of 1 pm today, 13 July 2014, the IOF has deliberately targeted 207 houses in the Gaza Strip. As a result, 187 houses have been destroyed completely and 495 were damaged. The majority of civilian casualties caused by IOF attacks, which have risen to 126 today and represent 75.4% of the total of 167 casualties, are the result of attacks on houses. Al Mezan calls on international community to condemn these crimes and to take immediate steps to halt and investigate these attacks. Every hour that passes without action costs lives of children, women and other civilians.