New crime against humanity: Israeli army summarily executed 11 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza City on 19 December - Survivors

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 Dec 2023

Palestinians described to Al Jazeera the grisly details of how the Israeli army summarily executed 11 unarmed Palestinian men in the Al-Remal neighbourhood in Gaza City in the early evening hours on 19 December.

An Israeli soldier operating in the Gaza Strip, amid continuing battles between Israel and Hamas. AFP

On Wednesday, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights  Occupied Palestinian Territory (OHCHR - OPT) in Ramallah said it had received reports that Israeli troops "summarily executed" at least 11 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza in a  “possible” war crime.

According to the OHCHR, "On 19 December 2023, between 2000 and 2300 hours, the IDF reportedly surrounded and raided Al-Awda building, also known as the “Annan building," in Al-Remal neighbourhood in Gaza, where three related families were sheltering in addition to the Annan family."

"According to witness accounts circulated by media sources and Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, the IDF, which had full control of the building and was aware that civilians were sheltering there, allegedly separated the men from the women and the children and then shot and killed at least 11 of the men, mostly in their late twenties and early thirties, in front of their family members, " continued the statement.

"The IDF then allegedly ordered the women and children into a room and either shot at them or threw a grenade into the room, reportedly seriously injuring some of them, including an infant and a child. OHCHR has confirmed the killings at the Al-Awda building, although the details and circumstances of the killings are still under verification. IDF has not released any information on the incident," added the OHCHR.

Al Jazeera English carried testimonies by neighbours and survivors of the Israeli execution incident.

“They [Israeli soldiers] stormed the building and forced their way into the residential apartments. They also detonated bombs in the lower levels of the building,” a severely injured and scared male survivor spoke to Al Jazeera.

Another witness, an elderly woman, said, “The Israeli soldiers stormed our block of flats, stole our homes, killed the men, and separated the women and children. My father-in-law and his son were shot. They died instantly. The Israelis killed them. They pulled women from their hair and forced them to remove their hair coverings. Other children were stripped naked of their clothes and forced to their knees. After killing all the men, Israeli tanks were ordered to fire a mortar shell on the fourth floor where the women were held. My two daughters and others were injured.”

A third witness, a middle-aged woman whose face was swollen and smeared with dirt and blood, said to Al Jazeera, “The Israeli soldiers fired three mortar shells at us and used their machine guns against us before storming the house. I was hit by a bullet in my hand; my daughter was hit in her head. My younger daughter was killed, and my son has gone blind. My husband was executed in cold blood. All my other daughters suffered severe injuries, broken bones, and flesh torn open. I have been bleeding constantly throughout the day.”    

The killings are the latest in a series of crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel against Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West Bank since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza on 7 October.

On 30 November, CCTV footage showed the Israeli army executing a Palestinian teen, Bassem Abu Al-Wafa, 15, and Adam Al-Ghul, 8, while they were playing on the street in a No-Go area in Jenin in the occupied West Bank.

Earlier this month, some images and videos showed the Israeli army arresting hundreds of Palestinian men in north Gaza, stripping them naked before hauling them to unknown detention centres -- in scenes reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

Short link: