12 Palestinians, Including Secretary-General of the Popular Resistance Committees, Killed and 11 others Wounded. (Detailed report on the latest Israeli Military escalation against the Gaza Strip)The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the military escalation initiated by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against the Gaza Strip since Friday evening, 09 March 2012, in the context of which 12 Palestinians, including the Secretary-General of the Popular Resistance Committees, have been killed and 11 others, including 6 civilians, were wounded as a result of a series of air strikes.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 16:15 on Friday, 09 March 2012, and Israeli warplane fired a missile at a blue Opel car that was traveling in the League of Arab States Street in the southwest of Gaza, in which two leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees were traveling.
The missile hit the car directly killing the two passengers and seriously wounding a civilian bystander. The victims were identified as Zuhair Mousa Ahmed al-Qaissi, 49, from Rafah, Secretary-General of the Popular Resistance Committees; and Mahmoud Ahmed Hanani, 44, from Nablus, al-Qaissi’s son-in-law, who was released from Israeli prisons and expelled to Gaza in 2006.
The civilian bystander who was wounded was identified as Yahia Zakaria al-Dahshan, 27, and was admitted into the intensive care unit at Shifa Hospital in Gaza.
At approximately 19:20 on the same day, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a number of activists of al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, who were near al-Mentar Hill in the east of al-Shuja’iya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Three activists were instantly killed:
1) Mohammed Khaled Harara, 24;
2) Fadel ‘Obaid al-Gharabli, 25; and
3) Hazem ‘Awadh Quraiqe’, 33.
At approximately 22:00 on the same day, an Israeli warplane fired a missile that landed between two houses in the densely-populated al-Tuffah neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. As a result, Mo’men Mahmoud al-Sherafi, a journalist, and his wife were lightly injured by glass fragments, while they were inside their house, which was heavily damaged. A nearby house was also heavily damaged.
Approximately 15 minutes later, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a garage under a 4-storey apartment building in al-Yarmouk Street in Gaza City. The place was heavily damaged and 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded.
At approximately 23:30 also on Friday, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a number of activists of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad in al-Tuffah neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. One of those activists, Shadi Riad al-Saiqali, 27, was killed.
At approximately 00:05 on Saturday, 10 March 2012, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a number of activists of the al-Quds Brigades near the headquarters of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the center of Gaza City. Two activists were instantly killed and a third one was seriously wounded, but died of his wound two hours later at Shifa Hospital. The victims were identified as:
1) Fa’eq Sameer Sa’ad, 28;
2) Mo’tassem Diab Hajjaj, 22; and
3) Ahmed ‘Abdul Fattah Hajjaj, 24.
At approximately 00:45 also on Saturday, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at an agricultural plot belonging to ‘Azzam Salama Abu Halima in al-Sayafa area in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia. As a result, a greenhouse was destroyed and 7 nearby houses were damaged, but no casualties were reported.
At approximately 01:25, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a number of activists of the al-Quds Brigades who were on a space area in al-Hatabiya Street in the center of Beit Lahia. An activist sustained bruises throughout the body.
At approximately 01:45, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a number of activists of the al-Quds Brigades near Hammouda fuel station in the southeast of Beit Lahia. Two activists were killed: Mohammed Yahia Mohammed al-Mughari, 24; and Mahmoud Ismail Nejem, 22. A third activist was also seriously wounded.
At approximately 04:10, an Israeli warplane fired two missiles at a red Kia car that was traveling on Saladin road near the entrance of the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah. A number of activists of the al-Quds Brigades were traveling in the car. The missile hit the car directly. One of the activists, Mohammed Ibrahim al-Ghamri, 26, from al-Maghazi refugee camp, was killed, and 3 others were wounded.
PCHR reiterates condemnation of these crimes and expresses utmost concern over such escalation, and:
1. Warns of aggravation of the humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip under the military escalation by IOF, accompanied by an ongoing tightened closure that impacts all aspects of life of the Palestinian civilian population.
2. Calls upon the international community to immediately take an action to stop such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 which stipulates ‘the High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances,’ and their obligations under Article 146 which requires that the Contracting Parties prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and under Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions.