"Humanitarian access in Israel and the [West Bank and Gaza Strip] is, in a comparative sense, outstandingly good. In fact, I can think of no other context where the ICRC operates worldwide…where the access for humanitarian organizations is as good as it is here."– ICRC's Jacques de Maio, keynoting Israeli conference three months after Operation Protective Edge (​III​​​)

June 26, 2015

In Blog News

From the UN Report on Operation Protective Edge

376.           Al Selek family house: On 30 July at about 3.30 p.m. according to the witnesses and 5 p.m. according to the IDF, the roof of the Al Selek family house located in the market neighbourhood was hit by shelling, killing 8 members of the Al Selek family, including 7 children aged between 3 and 9 and their grandfather aged 70. The IDF indicated that the shelling was in response to an anti-tank missile […] fired at IDF forces operating in the outskirts of Shuja’iya, at approximately 4.10 p.m. followed by “an intense and on-going burst of mortar fire, emanating from a built-up area in the neighbourhood, targeting the forces”, resulting in the injury of an IDF soldier. According to the IDF, the commanders in the field believed that the shelling by Palestinian armed groups could provide cover for an attempt to capture a soldier.

377.           The commission interviewed three family members who were present in the house during the attack and one witness who arrived at the scene a few minutes later. The witnesses who had been at the scene said that the family children were on the terrace playing when the house was hit 4 times, with the first 2 projectiles striking the roof. They told the commission that, when they heard the first explosion, they started looking for the children, only to realize that the children had been playing on the rooftop with their grandfather. The witnesses and family members rushed to the terrace, where they found that seven children and their grandfather were dead. Another child was seriously injured. Witnesses stated that the attack was entirely unexpected because they believed that the truce, which had been announced on local TV stations, would prevail during these hours.  The witnesses insisted that nobody in the house was affiliated with an armed group and that their family house had never been targeted before.[5]

378.           The IDF fired another round of shells at the market neighbourhood, about 10 minutes after the shells hit the Al Selek family home, just as three ambulances and the paramedics arrived at the scene.Many of the people who had gathered around the Al Selek house to try and help survivors came under attack by the second round of shelling. One journalist who witnessed the attack said that what stunned him was the apparent targeting of ambulances and journalists who had rushed to provide assistance to the injured and cover the incident. One of the survivors said that he saw an ambulance being hit by a shell, which killed one paramedic and one journalist, and killed and injured others who were in the vicinity of the house. The events at Shuja’iya market were further corroborated by a statement from a man who was injured in this incident and transferred to a hospital in Cairo.

379.           These allegations are corroborated by two video recordings. The videos show bystanders and journalists gathering in the street after the attack on the house and three ambulances and a fire truck arriving at the scene, with the sirens clearly audible. A few seconds later a large explosion is heard, the cameraman falls to the ground and dust covers the camera. One of the videos shows the dying cameraman continuing to film after the incident, and the ambulances being hit by a rocket. There are persons on the ground asking for God’s help. At least eleven explosions are heard, one every few seconds, following which dozens of injured persons can be seen in the street and three persons not moving any more.

380.           On the basis of the information available, it appears that the weapons the IDF used in this incident were high explosive 120 mm mortars, which have a circular error probability of 136 meters, and are therefore imprecise. Remnants of these shells were found inside and around the Al Selek house.

381.      As a result of the second round of shelling, 23 persons were killed, including 3 journalists, 1 paramedic, and 2 firemen. In addition, 178 others were injured, among them 33 children, 14 women, 1 journalist, and 1 paramedic. Four are reported to have died as a result of the injuries they sustained in this attack.