MEMO’s Diary of War Crimes: First anniversary DAY NINE 4Jan10 January 10, 2010
Sunday, 4 January 2008 â DAY NINE
On the 9th consecutive day of the offensive, the IOF escalated attacks in the Gaza Strip. In conjunction with the ground operation, this day witnessed indiscriminate bombardment of residential areas from the air, land and sea. The northern areas, particularly Gaza City , witnessed the most violent, intensive, and brutal bombing in the history of the Gaza Strip, prompting the evacuation of thousands of Palestinian civilians seeking shelter. The IOF advanced slowly destroying and clearing houses so as to make way for its advancing troops. In some cases, houses were destroyed while civilians were still inside. In addition, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights received testimonies that many civilians were used as human shields; a war crime.
Areas of friction, especially al-âAtatra and al-Salateen areas, al-Nada tower buildings and the western and northern parts of Beit Lahia town were subjected to intense fire from heavy machine guns and artillery. As a result, a high number of deaths and casualties was reported among unarmed civilians; entire families were killed. In the meantime, the air strikes continued; the IOF bombed âOmar Ben Abdul âAziz Mosque in Beit Hanoun town. The mosque was completely destroyed and a number of nearby houses were damaged.
In another vicious crime, the IOF bombed a crowd of Palestinians near Abu âObaida Ibn al-Jarrah School in Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip. When people rushed to evacuate the wounded, the IOF bombarded the area again killing nine Palestinians. At noon, the IOF killed 4 Palestinians, including 3 children, when they were atop of a house belonging to the al-Nemer family in al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the east of Gaza City . A shell hit the roof of the house. Other areas in the central Gaza Strip witnessed massive displacement of families from Juhor al-Dik area, al-Mughraqa village and al-Zahra town as the IOF deployed there, cutting off the southern Gaza Strip from the north. As a result, UNRWA turned its schools into shelters for the displaced families. The IOF warplanes fired a missile at a group of Palestinians in al-Shouka village in the east of Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip, killing five, including a father and his three sons, 2 of whom are children. The death toll of this day was 101 Palestinians, including 84 civilians; 31 children and 4 women. This number also includes 3 Palestinians who died of wounds they had sustained earlier in the offensive.