Ibrahim Sheikh Omar, 2 ½ years old, was killed late Thursday night when Israeli forces bombed the Mohammad al-Durra Hospital in Gaza City. 13 others were wounded in the airstrike.Ibrahim was in the ICU when a building next to the hospital was hit by an Israeli airstrike. The baby was hit by shrapnel, which killed him instantly.
This is the third time in three days that Israeli military forces have hit hospitals with airstrikes, even though the Palestinian Ministry of Health has gone to great lengths to ensure that the Israeli military has the exact coordinates of all the hospitals in Gaza.
Israeli claims, which have been repeated widely in the media, that the Palestinian resistance either fires or stores weapons, have been proven to be false, and the Israeli military has even doctored photos to release to the media to advance this false claim.
On July 21st, the Israeli military spokesperson posted on Twitter a falsified photo alleging to show weapons at al-Wafa Hospital in northern Gaza. But the photo was revealed by activists to be fraudulent. Despite that fact, the military used the photo as the reason for bombing the al-Wafa hospital, first with patients inside, then, after forcing the paraplegic and geriatric patients to evacuate, by bombing the hospital repeatedly until it has been almost completely destroyed.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the ongoing Israeli airstrikes have caused damage to seven of the thirteen main hospitals in Gaza.
A major airstrike that directly targeted Al Aqsa Hospital on Monday resulted in the deaths of four people – three patients and a staff member. Dozens more were wounded, and the hospital’s oxygen-generation unit was damaged and rendered unusable.
Attacking hospitals at any time, for any reason, is considered a war crime under international law.
Riyadh Mansour, Palestine’s Observer to the United Nations, said Thursday, “When hospital floors are drowning in the blood of innocents, corridors are filled with the deafening screams of pain of the wounded and cries of the grief and anguish for loved ones killed, and doctors, with barely any supplies and deprived of sleep and sustenance struggle courageously …. The international community has failed to enforce the rule of law, and failed its promise to humanity.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay on Thursday called for an investigation into possible war crimes by the Israeli military and by Hamas. She stated, “There seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes. Every one of these incidents must be properly and independently investigated.”
The strike on the Mohammad Durra Hospital occurred several hours after this statement was made, and after the Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, responded to the UN Council’s announcement by saying that “The UNHRC is sending a message to Hamas and terror organizations everywhere that using civilians as human shields is an effective strategy”, but did not present any evidence of his claim that Hamas ever uses civilians as ‘human shields’. There was, however, an incident documented on Monday July 21st in which the Israeli military used Palestinian civilians as human shields in Azzun.