May 16, 2021: Zain Riyad Hasan Ishkantna, 2, was killed by Israeli missiles in Gaza city.
He was killed along with his mother Abeer Nimir Ali Ishkantna, 30, and his three big sisters. The four children killed were Dana, 9, Yehya, 5, Lana, 3, and Zain, 2.
The same attack also killed Rula Mohammad al-Qulaq, five, Yara, nine, and Hala, 12 – all sisters – together with their cousin Hana, 14, and several other of their relatives, as well as sisters Dima and Mira Rami al-Ifranji al-Auf, 15 and 11.
A total of 37 men, women and children were killed in the airstrikes that night on al-Wehda Street in al-Rimal, Gaza City. They were mainly from two families: the Abu al-Auf family, which lost 16 family members that night – including 6 children and their parents and grandparents; and the al-Qulaq family, which lost 17 family members that night, including a one-year old baby and seven other young children who were siblings and cousins.
11 of the Palestinian children killed in the airstrikes that night were identified by the Norwegian Refugee Council as children whom the charity had been treating for their trauma. Jan Egeland, an official with the charity, said, “They are now gone, killed with their families, buried with their dreams and the nightmares that haunted them”.
The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR) said Israeli warplanes carried out intense huge airstrikes on several places in Gaza City after midnight and continued until 02:10.
The airstrikes targeted the Abu al-Ouf apartment building, a 4-storey building, which included residential apartments and shops on al-Wehda Street. The bombs destroyed it over the heads of its residents without a warning. Furthermore, Israeli warplanes targeted 2 other 4-storey residential buildings belonging to Ameen Mohammed al-Qulaq and Mo’een Mohammed al-Qulaq, near Abu al-Ouf building, and destroyed it over the heads of its residents. In addition, al-Ahlam building was targeted in the same area as well. As a result, thirty seven persons were killed, including eleven children and nine women.
The airstrikes on al-Rimal neighborhood and on al-Wehda Street destroyed the main roads and infrastructure starting from al-Rimal Clinic’s intersection to Palmira intersection and the Middle East Council of Churches Street in addition to the Thai Restaurant intersection and al-Thawrah Street.
Additionally, the Labor Ministry’s headquarter was completely destroyed while the Ministry of Social Development, Doctors Without Borders organization, ‘Ajour and al- Omara 4-storey buildings, and a 2-story house, which is inhabited, belonging to Mattar family sustained severe damage.
It identified the death at Abu al-Ouf building as Ayman Tawfiq Abu al-Ouf, 50, an internist of al-Shifa Hospital, his two children, Tawfiq, 17, and Tala, 13, Abeer Nimir Ali Shkontana, 30, and three of her children, Yehya Ruyad Hasan Shkontana, 5, Dana, 9, and Zain, 2, in addition to Dima Rami Riyad al-Ifranji, 16, Reem Khalil Ahmed Abu al-Ouf, 41, Hazem Adel Na’eem al-Qamea’, 48, and Rawan Alaa Subhi Abu al-Ouf, 19.
The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR) said that medical and Civil Defense crews pulled out thirteen dead bodies, including three women and seven children, from under the rubble of their houses on al-Wehda Street, raising the number of deaths to forty-three, most of them were children and women.
It said that some of the slain Palestinians had been identified as Subhiya Isma’el Hussain Abu al-Ouf, 73, Ameen Mohammed Hamad al-Qulaq, 90, Tawfiq Isma’el Hussain Abu al-Ouf, 80, and his wife, Majdiya Khalil Hussain Abu al-Ouf, 82, Raja’ Subhi Isma’el al-Ifranji Abu al-Ouf, 41, and 3 of her children, Mira Rami Riyad al-Ifranji, 12, Yazan, 13, Ameer, 9, and Hala Mohammed Mo’een al-Qolaq, 13, and her sister, Yara, 10, Rola, 6, and Lana, 4, Riyad Hasan Shkontana, and Mohammed Ahmed Musbah Ikki, 40.
The PCHR said, for the eighth consecutive day, the Israeli army continued the offensive on the Gaza Strip, in violation of the basic principles of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL): necessity, proportionality and distinction.
Tens of Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of intense airstrikes, along with artillery and gunboat shelling. The airstrikes targeted more houses and civilian facilities and intensified the destruction of roads and infrastructure, inflicting more casualties among Palestinian civilians and causing extensive damage to their properties.
It added that the Israeli army declared that the third phase of the military operation on the Gaza Strip has started and that fifty-four warplanes fired 110 missiles attacked thirty-five targets within 20 minutes, including fifteen kilometer-tunnels; according to IOF’s claims, while the facts on the ground indicate that the airstrikes targeted more houses, facilities, and streets.
The power outage crisis in the Gaza Strip aggravated as the electricity supply dropped to three to four hours a day that is inadequate for the vital facilities to provide services to the people of the Gaza Strip.
The Electricity Company stated that the components of the electricity distribution network sustained massive destruction as five main electric power transmission lines, which supply sixty megawatts, broke down since the beginning of the offensive while the rest lines break down from time to time and become out of service due to the airstrikes and destruction of many places.
The power plant warned that it would be forced to shut down this evening due to insufficient fuel supply. The Power Generating Company announced that “J4” electric power transmission line, which supplies Gaza City and passes through Street 8 and Street 10, sustained severe damage due to the intense airstrikes on the area. As a result, the electricity went off on vacant areas in the city.
The forced displacement of tens of thousands of residents from their houses in eastern Gaza Strip continued due to the violent artillery shelling as shelters were opened to receive them without so far providing adequate circumstances. Also, almost all aspects of daily life have been disrupted due to the non-stop airstrikes.
Further to PCHR’s press release published yesterday, Israeli warplanes carried out hundreds of airstrikes while the Israeli gunboats and artillery shelled various and indiscriminate targets across the Gaza Strip.
As a result, 23 Palestinians, including three women and seven children, while fifty-three others, including eight women and eighteen children, were injured.
Additionally, the airstrikes targeted twenty-one houses, several facilities, governmental headquarters, and infrastructure on a wide scale. Thus, the number of targeted houses has risen to 115, including multi-story buildings and several towers.
Moreover, the death toll from the beginning of the Israeli offensive that began May 10th rose to 204 by May 16th, including fifty-nine children and thirty-four women, and the number of those wounded has risen to 836, including 251 children and 184 women.
According to the daily update by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the total number of injuries reached 1300, including fifty serious injuries, on this, the sixth straight day of the Israeli assault on Gaza.
These large numbers of injuries have increased the burden on medical crews and the already exhausted healthcare system due to the Israeli-imposed closure and the outbreak of coronavirus in addition to the negative impact of power outage on the operation of laboratories, blood banks and surgeries, especially considering the growing number of injuries.
Also, during these days, Gaza hospitals rely on generators due to long hours of power outage, rendering hospitals in urgent need of constant supply of fuel.
During the 11-day Israeli assault on Gaza between May 10th and 21st, 2021, 247 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children and 39 women; 1417 wounded, including 277 women and 412 children. 9 Israelis, including 2 children, were killed during the same time period. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, which documented these attacks, has called upon the international Criminal Court to open an investigation into the occupation’s crimes during this military aggression, and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfil their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to 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 Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights).