June 14, 2014
Ramallah, June 14, 2014—A child is in critical condition following an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza.
Ali al-Awwar, 10, was riding on the back of his uncle’s motorcycle on the evening of June 11 when he was critically wounded by an Israeli missile.
The child’s uncle, Mohammed al-Awwar, was the target of the airstrike and was killed instantly. According to the Israeli army, the child’s uncle was involved in firing rockets against Israel.
“Ali’s case is devastating, but unfortunately not unique,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Whether during large scale military offensives or targeted assassinations, the children of Gaza are killed, maimed and injured because the Israeli government completely disregards their protected status as civilians under international law.”
Two bystanders were also injured by the airstrike. A civilian driver passing by in his car sustained critical injuries when the missile hit. The airstrike also led to minor injuries for a resident of the nearby Shati refugee camp.
A Palestinian rocket that caused no casualties or damage landed in Israeli territory earlier on June 11.
According to a statement released by the Israeli Army, “The IDF sees firing of rockets at Israeli territory as very serious and will continue to act strongly against any attempt to carry out terrorist activities.” The military added that the strike had targeted “globally affiliated jihad terrorists.”
Ten-year-old Ali’s most serious injury, a skull fracture that led to swelling and bleeding in the brain, was caused by pieces of shrapnel lodged in his head. He was transferred to Shifa hospital from Kamal Adwan hospital due to the serious nature of his injuries.
He is currently in the intensive care unit, where doctors have described his condition as critical.
Cross-border violence continued on the morning of June 14, when Israeli military planes launched two airstrikes in the Gaza Strip after Palestinian missiles hit Israel.
The Israeli strike in Gaza comes amid increased tension between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, following the April 24 announcement of a Palestinian national unity government between Hamas and Fatah. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his government now holds Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority responsible for any rocket fire from Gaza.
In May, DCI-Palestine documented two cases of violence against children in the Gaza Strip, including an incident that left a 16-year-old youth paralyzed.