Heartbreaking accounts.. Human Rights Watch: Israeli forces committed war crimes in Gaza during the last round

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused Israeli forces of committing war crimes against Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip during the last round of fighting in May.
The report referred to accusations by Palestinian factions in Gaza of violating the laws of war, showing investigations into crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian families in three raids that killed 62 Palestinian civilians.

The organization said that those three targets that were attacked by the Israeli forces were not military.

“Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May that devastated entire families, apparently with no military target nearby,” said Jerry Simpson, associate director of the Crisis and Conflict Division at Human Rights Watch. The alleged rocket attacks by Palestinian forces on Israeli population centers highlight the importance of an investigation by the International Criminal Court.” As stated in the report.

The United Nations reported that attacks by the Israeli army during the May fighting killed 260 Palestinians, including at least 129 civilians, including 66 children. The Gaza Health Ministry said that Israeli forces wounded 1,948 Palestinians, including 610 children, in When the Israeli authorities said that rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian groups killed 12 Israeli civilians, including two children and a soldier, and wounded “several hundreds.” Several Palestinians were also killed in Gaza due to the failure of rockets fired by armed groups and their fall in Gaza. According to the organization's report.

Since late May, Human Rights Watch has personally interviewed 30 Palestinians who witnessed Israeli attacks, relatives of civilians killed, or residents of targeted areas. Human Rights Watch also visited the site of four strikes, examined munitions remnants, and analyzed satellite imagery, videos, and photographs taken in the aftermath. attacks.

Human Rights Watch focused its investigations on three Israeli attacks that resulted in large numbers of civilian casualties and were not located near clear military targets. Other Israeli attacks during the conflict are likely to be unlawful. According to the description of the report.

On May 10, near the town of Beit Hanoun, an Israeli guided missile landed near four homes of the al-Masri family, killing several civilians, including six children, and on May 15, a guided bomb destroyed a three-storey building in Beach Camp refugees, killing 10 civilians—two women and eight children from two related families. On May 16, a four-minute series of Israeli air strikes hit Al Wahda Street in Gaza City, collapsing three multi-storey buildings, resulting in On the death of 44 civilians, the Israeli military said it targeted tunnels and an underground command center used by armed groups, but did not provide details to support that claim. According to the report.

On July 13, the IDF spokesperson responded to a Human Rights Watch letter sent on June 4 in which it summarized its findings regarding the above cases and requested specific information, among other things, that it “strikes only military targets, after they assesses that the potential collateral damage from the attack is not excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage, … makes a determined effort to minimize harm to uninvolved personnel and in many [May] raids … when possible … sends a warning to civilians within military objectives Previously.. the military also said it was investigating a number of attacks during the May fighting to determine if its rules had been violated.” He was also quoted by the report of the international human rights organization.

On May 30, Human Rights Watch requested permits for senior Human Rights Watch researchers to enter Gaza to conduct further investigations into the hostilities, but the Israeli authorities denied the request. Since 2008, the Israeli authorities have refused to allow foreign Human Rights Watch staff to enter Gaza, with the exception of one visit. in 2016.

The organization called on Israel's allies to press for allowing human rights organizations to enter Gaza to investigate and document human rights violations.

“Partners of Israel, particularly the United States, which provides significant military assistance, and whose weapons of its own have been used in at least two of the attacks investigated by Human Rights Watch, should condition any future security assistance to Israel that concrete and verifiable measures be taken,” the organization said. including to improve their compliance with the laws of war and international human rights law, and to investigate past abuses.”

Human Rights Watch indicated that it is conducting research and will provide a detailed report on the operations of Palestinian factions, stressing that under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, warring parties may target only military objectives, and must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians, including through By providing real advance warnings of attacks.

On May 12, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court indicated that it was monitoring the situation in Gaza, with Human Rights Watch calling on the Office of the Prosecutor to include in its investigation into Palestine Israeli attacks on Gaza that resulted in apparently unlawful civilian casualties, as well as attacks Palestinian rockets that hit population centers in Israel.

The organization considered that the latest round of fighting, like its predecessors in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2018, and 2019, among other actions, took place amid the sweeping Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip, which began in 2007, and discriminatory efforts to evict Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem, in addition to the policies and practices that They form part of the Israeli government's crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution, as Human Rights Watch has documented.

On May 27, the UN Human Rights Council established a commission of inquiry to address abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, including by promoting accountability and justice for victims.

"The committee should scrutinize unlawful attacks committed by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups during the May fighting, and should analyze the broader context, including the Israeli government's discriminatory treatment of Palestinians," the organization said.

"The ICC Prosecutor and other credible judicial authorities examining the situation should be made aware of the commission's findings," she added.

"Judicial authorities in other countries should credibly investigate and prosecute under national laws those responsible for serious crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel under the principle of universal jurisdiction... Governments should also support a strong political declaration that addresses the harm that explosive weapons cause to civilians and obligates states to avoid the use of Weapons that have wide-ranging effects in populated areas.”

“Israel and the Palestinian authorities have shown little interest in addressing abuses by their forces, so global and national judicial institutions should intensify their efforts to break the cycle of unlawful attacks and impunity for war crimes,” Simpson said. “These investigations should also address the broader context, including That is the Israeli government’s sweeping closure of Gaza and the crimes of apartheid and persecution against millions of Palestinians.”

Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza, May 10-21

The May 2021 fighting came on the heels of efforts by Jewish settler groups to evict long-time Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem from their homes and confiscate them, as Israeli courts allow Jewish settler groups to file claims dating back to pre-1948 in occupied East Jerusalem, despite the fact that Palestinians were displaced, and although all other Palestinians were prohibited by Israeli law from reclaiming property confiscated from them in the events of 1948 inside Israel, Palestinians held demonstrations around East Jerusalem, and Israeli security forces fired tear gas, sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring hundreds Palestinians.

On May 10, Palestinian groups in Gaza began firing rockets at Israeli population centers, while the Israeli army carried out rocket and artillery attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip, and Human Rights Watch investigated 3 IDF attacks that violated the laws of war, killing and wounding 62 civilians Dozens, as we discussed a fourth attack that killed two civilians, and may have targeted a Hamas fighter.

Beit Hanoun

Shortly after 6 p.m. on May 10, a guided missile landed near the town of Beit Hanoun killing eight people, including six children, all apparently civilians, and reportedly wounding 18 others. Ten meters from the nearest four neighboring houses, owned by four brothers of the Masri family—Arafat, Ibrahim, Muhammad Atallah, and Yousef—who lived there with their families. The houses are located about a kilometer east of Beit Hanoun in northeastern Gaza.

Three members of the al-Masry family who witnessed the approach of the munition told Human Rights Watch, and Human Rights Watch spoke to four other members of the al-Masry family and a relative of a victim who was not a family member of what they saw during and immediately after the attack, and also spoke to three relatives of two of the victims, who were not from Al-Masry's family, one of whom witnessed the aftermath of the attack.

Those interviewed by the organization said that the attack occurred shortly after 6 p.m., when family members were packing processed barley into bags to sell to merchant Muhammad Naseer. Video and photos taken the next day show empty and overturned sacks of barley.

Muhammad, son of Muhammad Atallah, says: I was with my brothers packing barley in bags, and suddenly I saw something coming towards us from the east, when I first saw it, it was high in the air, then it descended gradually as it headed towards us, and it exploded one meter from the ground, something hit me In my eyes, stomach and legs, I flew in the air and landed on the ground, I did not lose consciousness, I saw that my brother Ahmed, my sister Rahaf, and my nephew Yazan had passed away, their bodies were torn, it was horrific.

At the time of the attack, Youssef al-Masri and his brother Ibrahim were 200 meters from their homes, he said he heard an explosion and saw smoke rising near the houses: We ran straight to our homes, I saw my two dead sons, Marwan and Ibrahim, imagine seeing your child’s brain on the ground, imagine seeing eyes Your children out of their heads, imagine holding your child and feeling his body contort with his broken spine, there was smoke coming from the children's mouths and their clothes, the scene was horrible.

Three others said they saw the munition approaching the area before it exploded. Ahed Hassanein, 12, said that while on the roof of his house, he saw “a large object coming from the Nahal Oz area” in Israel, about 7.5 kilometers southeast of Beit Hanun, before it explodes nearby.

Ghassan al-Masri, 24, who was packing barley next to the dead and wounded in the attack, said that he was facing east when he saw something coming from the southeast that was “flying low and quietly towards people, then it exploded in the air near the ground.”

Ehsan al-Zaanin, the 29-year-old daughter of Arafat al-Masry, was sitting outside her parents' house when the attack occurred. She said that before the explosion she saw a “missile” coming from the air “from the east.”

Relatives of the victims told Human Rights Watch that the attack killed Yusef's two sons, Ibrahim, 11, and Marwan, seven; The son of Muhammad Atallah, Ahmed (21 years old), his daughter Rahaf (8 years old), and his grandson Yazan (14 months), and two sons from the neighbors’ families, Ibrahim Abdullah Hassanein (16 years old), Hussein Munir Hamad (10 years old), and the neighbor were also killed. The merchant, Muhammad Ali Naseer (23 years old).

Human Rights Watch visited the site on May 26, June 23, and 26, spoke with eyewitnesses to the attack and its aftermath, analyzed photographs of munitions remnants taken by another human rights organization that we independently confirmed were taken on the morning of May 11 at the site, and a video Filmed in the immediate aftermath of the attack and turned out to be real.

Limited blast and fragmentation damage at the scene indicates the use of a munition with a low explosive yield, the absence of an impact crater indicates that the munition exploded in mid-air, while munition remnants photographed on the morning of May 11 indicate that the weapon used was some kind of Guided missiles used to attack armored vehicles, fortified positions, or personnel in open spaces.

Based on interviews with al-Masri's family members and aerial photographs, Human Rights Watch concluded that two of al-Masry's four homes were damaged during another attack, after families left their homes, sometime between midday on May 11 and May 20.

All of those interviewed said that none of those killed or survivors of the attack belonged to any Palestinian group. Relatives of Ahmed al-Masri, who was killed, said he was a member of Fatah, the dominant political party in the Palestinian Authority, which was not involved in hostilities in Gaza. While no armed group in Gaza has indicated on its websites that any of the dead were members, which it usually does after the death of any of its fighters, Human Rights Watch found no evidence that any of the victims were combatants.

On May 16, the Israeli military posted on social media a photo of men it said were Palestinian “activists” killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since May 10, including “Muhammad Ali Muhammad Naseer,” one of the men killed in the strike. The photo did not mention when and where they were killed. On the same day, the Israeli news website Walla reported that the Israeli army said it had killed eight “activists” from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, including Nasir, again without mentioning when and where they were killed. .

Three people—a survivor of the al-Masry attack, a local journalist, and one of Muhammad's brothers—told Human Rights Watch that the image on the Israeli military poster shows Muhammad Nasir, the organization visited his home, and saw a sign hanging outside the family home showing Muhammad Nasir's face, and confirmed that it was the same. The person who appears in the Israeli poster.

Nuseir's brother, Galal, and three others told Human Rights Watch that he is not affiliated with an armed group and that he is a merchant who regularly buys and sells barley as animal feed, including from the al-Masry family, and performs various other jobs.

Jalal said that Nassir always transported items and goods for sale using a horse-drawn cart, and said that on May 10, Nasir took the horse cart to al-Masry's homes to take barley to the market, and Munir's son Hussein, who was killed in the attack, joined Muhammad on the cart. One of the reasons so many children were killed in the raid, two people said, was that they were gathering around the horse when it arrived at Al-Masry's homes.

Four witnesses said that shortly before the attack they heard one or more munitions fired toward Israel from Gaza, although they did not see them or know where they were fired from, and based on interviews with a witness and a review of a video clip, Human Rights Watch found that shortly after 6 p.m. An Islamic Jihad missile hits a civilian vehicle at the Camel Hill Observatory, also known as Yanchik Hill, in Israel, two kilometers west of the Israeli city of Sderot and about 2.6 kilometers east of Masri's homes, injuring a civilian standing next to it.

However, the Israeli authorities did not justify the al-Masry strike as a response to the missile attack, and other than the closeness of time, Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a link between the missile attack and the airstrike.

Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a military objective at or near the site of the strike, an attack not directed at a specific military objective was unlawful, and the IDF did not provide information justifying the attack, and said, “The investigation into the attack should consider whether Israeli forces It has targeted a military objective, if there is a legitimate military objective, if all feasible precautions are taken to minimize harm to civilians, and if the expected military gain outweighs the expected loss of civilian life.. Any unlawful attack carried out with criminal intent – ​​intentionally or recklessly – is considered A war crime.”

beach camp

At about 1:40 a.m. on May 15, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a three-story building owned by Alaa Abu Hatab in Shati refugee camp. The camp, which covers half a square kilometer on the coast of northern Gaza, houses around 90,000 people, most of them in multi-storey buildings, and is one of the most overcrowded places in the world.

Abu Hatab told Human Rights Watch that he lived on the first and second floors of the building for 30 years with his family, and that he rented the ground floor to a barber, sweets shop, and grocery store, all of which were closed at the time of the attack.

He added, “I left my house on foot around 1:30 am to go to some local stores that are open late during the run-up to Eid [the end of the holy month of Ramadan holiday] to buy toys and snacks for children for Eid and buy some food as we were hungry, and before leaving the house There was no warning that anything was going to happen to our house, we didn’t get a phone call and there was no drone strike they do sometimes to warn people that their building was being targeted, it would at least scare the kids, and they would run away from the house in time.”

Abu Hatab continued: About 15 minutes after he left, he heard “a loud explosion that shook the entire area.. I ran back towards the smoke and realized it was my house. It became rubble, I felt everything around me spinning, I was shocked and lost consciousness, when I regained consciousness I saw rescue workers searching for bodies under the rubble and pulling body parts.. The attack tore the bodies.. Other parts remained under the rubble because they could not find them.. It was not There are gunmen in or near my house and there are no rockets or rocket launchers there.. I still do not know why my house was bombed and my wife, children, sister and her children were killed. What is their fault?”

Sami Abu Hatab, Alaa Abu Hatab's cousin, who lives near his house, heard an explosion and soon heard in the local news that his cousin's house had been hit. She was hit in the face.. Someone said that the explosion was powerful and threw her from the window. Then we heard a child crying and found a hole in the rubble about 50 cm wide. We saw through it a child and his mother. Later, they said that the child’s leg was broken and I saw some other injuries on his face and body.”

Sami said that he continued searching under the rubble, adding, “Suddenly I touched a leg, then I found a brain, then I saw a child and knew that it was Yamen, Alaa’s son. Some of his facial features remained visible, then I found Youssef dead, another son of Alaa, and we have worked to retrieve the bodies until now.” 7 a.m., and a bulldozer helped retrieve some of the children’s bodies, all of them missing organs: a hand, a leg, and skin from their heads, it’s hard to describe, you’ll cry just trying to imagine it.”

Ten people were killed in the attack - two women and eight of their children, including Abu Hatab's wife Yasmin Hassan Abu Hatab, 30, and four of their children: Youssef (11 years), Bilal (10 years), Maryam (8 years), and Yamen (6 years). While their daughter Maria (5 years) was injured but survived, Abu Hatab's sister Maha Abu Hatab Al Hadidi (35 years) and four of her children: Suhaib (14 years), Yahya (11 years), Abdul Rahman (8 years), and Osama (6 years) were also killed. Her son, Omar, 5 months old, was also wounded, but he survived.

Human Rights Watch visited the site on May 23 and June 12, spoke to seven eyewitnesses in the aftermath of the attack, found, photographed and analyzed munition remnants on the roof of an immediate neighbor of the Abu Hatab family, and reviewed photos and videos posted on social media.

Four people said that the Abu Hatab building collapsed upon their arrival minutes after the attack. Satellite images taken the day before show no signs of damage, while images taken at 10:36 a.m. on May 15 show the destruction of the Abu Hatab building. High-resolution satellite imagery captured on May 20 shows that the four surrounding buildings were badly damaged, with rubble appearing nearby.

Based on a review of munitions remnants found by Human Rights Watch on May 23, it was confirmed that the building had been directly hit by an air-dropped guided bomb equipped with a delay fuse that allowed the subsequent detonation of the munition and the destruction and demolition of the building's beams, the GBU39 (GBU39) GBU-39 is of small diameter manufactured by "Boeing" and exported by the United States to Israel.

The Israeli military said it targeted a building in the Shati refugee camp on the night of May 15 because “a number of senior officials of the Hamas terrorist organization [were] in an apartment used as a terror infrastructure,” and that the attack killed ten people, and said its attack on the hideout led to the building’s collapse . According to the report of the human rights organization.

Everyone interviewed by Human Rights Watch about the attack said that he was not aware of any gunmen in or near the building at the time of the attack, and we found no other evidence of Palestinian armed groups in the building at the time of the attack, or any evidence of a hideout under the building.

Muhammad al-Sayed, a neighbor of Abu Hatab, the building owner who rented space on the building's ground floor for 14 years, said that Abu Hatab had no connection to any armed group.

Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a military objective at or near the site of the strike, an attack not directed at a specific military objective was unlawful, the IDF did not provide information justifying the attack, and an investigation into the attack should lead to confirmation that Israeli forces targeted the target Military, and if there is a legitimate military objective, have all feasible precautions been taken to minimize harm to civilians, and whether the expected military gains exceed the expected losses in civilian life, that any unlawful attack carried out with criminal intent - intentionally or recklessly - is a war crime.

May 11 attack

Shortly after 4:30 a.m. on May 11, an air-dropped bomb hit the seven-storey Taiba building, 50 meters from the Abu Hatab building, which was hit four days later. Two civilians were reportedly killed and two others were injured.

Raed Baroud, who lives on the fifth floor of the building whose roof was damaged, said he was preparing for morning prayers when the attack occurred. He said he did not hear an explosion, but that his apartment suddenly filled with black smoke and dust.

Ahmed Salah, who lives near the Taiba building, heard an explosion during dawn prayers at the nearby Al-Susi Mosque. He rushed to the building and went up with other local residents and civil defense personnel to the sixth floor to search for survivors. “We found Umm Sobh in the bathroom and she was washing in preparation for the dawn prayer,” he said. Half of her body was inside the bathtub and the other half was hanging outside, there were shrapnel all over her body, we covered her body with a shower curtain and then we searched for a long time for her son Aboud, and I found a blanket and then his heel and it was cold, he was under the rubble lying on his stomach and his head was broken.”

The attack killed Amira Abdel Fattah Sobh, 58, and her son Abdel Rahman Youssef Sobh, 19, who had cerebral palsy.

During visits to the site on May 23 and June 12, Human Rights Watch observed that the southeast corner of the seventh floor of the building was completely destroyed and the same corner on the sixth floor was partially damaged, and also visited an apartment on the fifth floor that was damaged, and part of the munitions used in the attack appeared in The roof, damage to the building can also be seen in high-resolution satellite imagery taken on May 14.

Observed damage and photographs of remnants analyzed by Human Rights Watch and the absence of an explosion on impact indicate that the weapon used was an air-guided bomb equipped with a delay fuse that allows it to penetrate the structure rather than detonate directly on impact. This type of ammunition is frequently used by the Israeli army.

A civilian, who lives in the vicinity of the attack and did not want to be identified, told Human Rights Watch that a member of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, was in the building at the time of the attack, while no one Human Rights Watch spoke to mentioned the attack He is among the victims.

The Israeli authorities have not publicly released any information about the May 11 attack, including the intended target and the precautions they took to minimize harm to civilians.

Al Wahda Street in Gaza City

Just before 1 a.m. on May 16, the Israeli army launched a series of four-minute raids in the center of Gaza City.

Omar Abu Al-Awf was the only survivor of his family after the collapse of the four-storey building in which they lived. His father Ayman, director of the internal medicine department at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, his mother and two brothers, were killed. “Around 1 am I was sitting with my family in the living room, My father was a doctor, and he had just come back from work at Shifa Hospital, and then we heard explosions, after the first explosion my mother wanted to flee the building, but my father refused and said that we could not be among the targets because we live in a civilian area.”

"Then four explosions shook our house, it all happened within five seconds, the house shook and I thought it was going to collapse, after the second explosion the house started shaking, I grabbed my sister's hand and pulled her into the corridor and hugged her trying to protect her, then I heard another missile and I saw fire outside the window and a wall collapsed." The corridor suddenly disappeared and everything started falling on us, and then the last bomb came. You destroyed us.”

He continued, "My sister stayed under my arms breathing for 15 minutes. I asked her to recite the two testimonies and then she was martyred [she died]. I did not know where my father was. I heard my mother repeat the two testimonies and then fell silent. My brother was still alive."

He said that he was under the rubble for 12 hours.. He added, “I heard the civil defense personnel and ambulances, I screamed, but they did not hear me, I felt like I was dead, but they finally found me.”

"Why did they kill my family and want me? Until that day we had a house, I had a family, every family member had a dream, everything disappeared in one second.”

Azzam Al-Qoulaq lived with his family on the third floor of a building on the eastern side of the Al-Qulaq complex, and said: “I heard a loud explosion and felt the building shake, after a minute or so there was a second explosion and the electricity went out and the walls started cracking and dust fell on our heads, and after a few seconds he threw We had a third explosion on the ground, and the floors and walls were badly damaged and the doors were broken and we were leaning towards the street. I heard my cousins ​​and my neighbors outside saying, “Get out of here!” My wife and I grabbed the children and the Civil Defense members helped us out.

His family's apartment remained largely intact as the two floors below collapsed, killing his two brothers, the wife of one and five of their children. “That's when the shock came. Our apartment [on the third floor] went down to street level and I just remember thinking 'Where is the rest of the building?' ” When they found the body of my brother Ezzat about four hours later, they also found his 11-year-old son Aziz alive in his arms, may God have mercy on my brother, he protected him.”

Human Rights Watch reviewed aerial photographs posted by the Israeli military online, photos and videos posted online, collected by independent researchers who visited, and satellite imagery captured on May 20. The material shows that the four-minute attack involved between 18 and 34 strikes that hit various points on the The length of about 1,030 meters from five streets within an area of ​​0.7 square kilometers, and at least 11 raids took place along 400 meters of Al Wahda Street.

The Israeli military said it “targeted tunnels and an underground command center used by armed groups,” while according to the Gaza Health Ministry and relatives interviewed by Human Rights Watch, the strikes killed 44 civilians: 18 children, 14 women, and 12 men, and injured 50 more after three collapsed. Among the dead were 22 members of the Al-Quluq family, and among the 22 people who were killed in the destroyed parts of the Abu Al-Awf building, 11 members of the Abu Al-Awf family, five members of the Ashkantna family, and four members of the Al-Franji family, also destroyed a number of neighboring buildings.

Human Rights Watch visited the site on May 27, June 12, and July 6 and spoke to ten eyewitnesses to the strikes and their aftermath who lived near the damaged buildings, and analyzed satellite imagery and photographed the location of the strikes and destroyed buildings, and analyzed photos and videos of what After the attack, as well as photos and videos posted on social media.

Satellite images captured on May 20 show several affected areas along Al Wahda Street and adjacent streets. The three destroyed buildings are located along a 150-meter-long road on Al Wahda Street between two perpendicular roads that intersect with it: Abdel Qader Al Husseini Street and Saeed Al Aas Street. The incident told Human Rights Watch that they saw digging in the street in front of the Abu al-Awf building.

Those interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that all 44 of the dead were inside the three buildings at the time of the attacks.

The al-Qulaq family owned two of the three destroyed buildings. Azzam al-Qulaq, a survivor of the two al-Qulaq buildings, said that his building was not directly bombed, but nevertheless collapsed, while Omar Abu al-Awf (17 years) said that his family owned a building of three sections and that people died in two of them. According to the description of another attack survivor Human Rights Watch spoke to and experts consulted by The New York Times, at least part of it was not directly bombed, but collapsed when the nearby street or sidewalk was bombed.

On June 9, an Israeli military official told The Independent that raids on Al Wahda Street included targeting underground infrastructure by hitting the road in a corner with a “standard type of munition” that detonated “a few meters” underground to ensure “minimum damage.” side of anything above the roof,” while he said the Israeli Air Force believed — but has not yet found evidence — that there might be explosives or munitions stored underground, and that this caused the buildings to collapse, and the IDF told the New York Times that it had programmed the fuse to allow Blast bombs deep underground to increase the impact on the tunnels and reduce the damage above. (As stated in the report of the human rights organization).

On June 2, the Israeli military told the New York Times that during the attack on Al-Wahda Street it had targeted an underground command center, without specifying what it meant, and also admitted not knowing its exact size or location at the time of the attack, if the army had targeted an “underground command center.” Indeed, the extent of the strikes on Al Wahda Street and the other four streets, which include about a thousand meters of the road, suggests that he believes that the center is located somewhere along those parts of the streets. The human rights report also quoted the American newspaper.

According to Israeli military videos of the attack and photos of remnants of munitions that Palestinian police in Gaza said they collected from Al Wahda Street on May 16 and showed to the New York Times, Human Rights Watch concluded that the Al Wahda Street strikes included the use of 1,000 kilograms of GBU-31 bombs. (GBU-31) air-dropped with the Joint Direct Attack Bombs Guiding Assembly produced by Boeing and exported by the United States to Israel.

None of the witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they had received or heard any warning issued by the Israeli authorities to evacuate their buildings prior to the Israeli strikes.

The IDF did not provide any information proving the existence of tunnels or an underground command center in this area, nor did it appear that the expected military gains from the attacks exceeded the expected damage to civilians and civilian property, nor did the army mention why conditions did not permit effective advance warning to residents of Al Wahda Street to evacuate their homes before attack.

The use of high-impact explosive munitions such as GBU-31 bombs in this densely populated area has caused foreseeable harm to civilians and civilian objects.

Human Rights Watch found no evidence of a military objective at or near the site of the airstrikes, including tunnels or an underground command center below Al Wahda Street or adjacent buildings.

The organization says, “An attack that is not directed at a specific military objective is considered illegal. The investigation of the attack must lead to ascertaining that the Israeli forces targeted a military objective, and if there is a legitimate military objective, did the expected military gains exceed the expected losses in civilian lives, and it should be ascertained.” From taking all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians, including the possibility that attacks on the road could cause the collapse of adjacent multi-storey buildings inhabited by hundreds, any unlawful attack carried out with criminal intent – ​​intentionally or recklessly – constitutes a war crime.”


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