Ghassan Andoni, IMEMC Staff & Agencies – 2004-06-21 14:14:35
GAZA (May 20, 2004) — Doctors at Abu Yousif Al-Najjar Hospital said on Thursday that 25-year-old Mohammad Ibrahim Jaber died of wounds he sustained early morning after he was left bleeding for over 12 hours in Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood in Rafah.
Hospital sources said Jaber was shot several times in the body and the Israeli army did not allow medical teams and the ambulance to reach the area to evacuate him.
Earlier Thursday, eyewitnesses in Rafah said that troops opened their Automatic machine gunfire at a house in Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood killing Jamal Al-Attar and injuring four others. Witnesses said Al-Attar
was shot when he went on the roof of his house calling people for drinking water that has been cut for a while in the raided area.
Earlier this morning, Palestinian medical sources in Rafah reported that 3-year-old Samer El-Arja from Rafah died of shock as the army opened its automatic gun fire and tank shells at the residential area he lives in.
The death of El-Arja, Al-Attar and Jaber raises the death toll in Rafah in the third day of the Israeli military operation, “Rain Bow” to eight and the total death in the three days offensive up to 46.
Army Expresses Sorrow, But Fires Again/
Despite UN Security Council condemnation, Israeli helicopter gunship fired Thursday early morning hours a missile killing five more Palestinians in Rafah. Troops continued with the major military offence for the third day, moving into a new neighborhood (AlBrazil) in the southern Gaza Strip city.
Army source said that the three were armed and approached army
forces operating in the area. Local sources reported that five people (not three) were killed as army fired at a house in the city of Rafah.
The five killed were identified to be: Mahmoud Deeb, 22; Yousif Maghari, 22; Hamed Bahlol, 20; Mahmoud Akhras, and Mahmoud Najeeb. The number of people killed in the invasion of Rafah, which started three days ago, arrived at 40. According to hospital sources, two more were wounded in the attack.
Soldiers pushed Thursday morning into the Rafah neighborhoods of Brazil and As-Salam, along the border with Egypt. A local source reported that army destroyed a four-story building belonging to Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam and a small Islamic sports club.
After a period of confusion and conflicting reports over the number of people killed in the deadly missile attack against demonstrators, news agencies and medical sources reported that 11 people were killed, mostly school children and more than 60 wounded.
Army source insisted that only eight Palestinians were killed. As army claims that only one missile was fired at the crowd, Palestinian witnesses said four missiles were fired from the air.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday expressed sorrow for the killing of civilians, but insisted that the IDF operation in Rafah was crucial and necessary and would “continue for as long as it remains necessary.” Mofaz said that the Rafah strike will be investigated and that it was too early to determine what exactly happened there.”
Palestinian medical sources in Al-Shifa, Abu Yousif Al-Najjar and the European hospitals said at least 10 of the demonstrators were killed and dozens were injured as the Israeli Apaches and tanks fired missiles and shells at the crowd of the protesters committing a massacre and raising the death toll in the past 40 hours up to 34 and might grow bigger.
As the residents of Rafah heard that the Israeli army is doing a house-to-house search in Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood, at least 3,000 Palestinians peacefully marched towards the area to protest the Israeli measures in solidarity with the residents there.
Eyewitnesses said many of the dead are school children and at least 60 others were injured including women and children.The witnesses also said that four missiles were fired from the air. Initially, Israeli army said some gunmen among the demonstrators opened fire at the troops and they responded.
Later, the Israeli newspaper online Haaretz reported, the army said in a statement that the troops did not target the crowed, yet a tank shell may have deviated after hitting an empty building nearby the demonstrators.