gaza bombing baby survivor greiving father
© Atia Darwish/APA Images
Mohammed al-Hadidi, holds his baby who was pulled alive from under the rubble while seven other family members perished, , after an Israeli air strike struck al-Shati Refugee Camp without advance warning during the night, in Gaza City early on May 15, 2021.
B'Tselem: Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released a statement on Sunday saying that Israel is committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Below are excerpts from the B'Tselem statement: "The Israeli airstrikes are targeting one of the most densely populated places in the world, already gripped by a humanitarian crisis...the crisis has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to rage in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank while Israel refuses to provide residents with vaccines.
Gaza's besieged civilians have nowhere to run to hide from the strikes. Tens of thousands of families cannot protect themselves. Israel repeatedly boasts that it takes care to safeguard civilians' lives and claims all its actions are lawful. For instance, regarding the bombing of residential high-rises, Israel has claimed they were empty as it had warned the occupants prior to the strike. This claim ignores the fact that the buildings in question cannot be considered legitimate military targets, both because they are inhabited by civilians and because their destruction provides Israel with no military advantage. Targeting civilian objects is prohibited and constitutes a war crime."

The hundreds of bombs Israel is boasting of raining down on Gaza are, horrifically, not part of a new policy. Israel bombs the Gaza Strip from time to time, at varying degrees of intensity, killing people and damaging civilian property and infrastructure. Israel also successfully whitewashes its actions with mechanisms it has put in place to shield policymakers from liability, along with those who approve and implement these policies.

In the current circumstances, Israel is showing no sign of changing its policy. B'Tselem reiterates that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague has already launched an investigation into Israel's actions, including alleged war crimes committed during the fighting in 2014. Israel is now implementing precisely the same policy that the ICC is examining. While welcome, the investigation, which will be protracted, is not enough. The violence has to stop now. That is why the international community must step in immediately and use its leverage to force Israel to change its policy, before it claims even more victims."
-updated 10:34 pm GMT

Israel destroys building housing foreign media offices in Gaza

idf israel office building media destroyed bombed
© Ashraf Amra
Smoke billows as an air bomb is dropped on the Jala’ Tower during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city, on May 15, 2021. Israel’s air force targeted the 13-floor Jala’ Tower housing Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television and the Associated Press news agency.
Israeli forces leveled the 15-story Jalaa building in Gaza, which houses many of the international media offices in the territory, including the Al Jazeera and AP offices.

The building was reported to hold 60 units, and also housed dozens of residential apartment buildings.

Al Jazeera reported that the Israeli military called the owner of the building and gave him one hour to evacuate everyone from the residences and offices. When the owner reportedly asked for 30 extra minutes so that people could evacuate their equipment and other essentials from the offices, the army commander refused.

"The Israeli (army) spokesman refused and said that they will be attacking exactly after one hour, and that no one should enter the building, if they don't want to lose their lives," Al Jazeera's Gaza reporter Youmna al-Sayed said.

"The destruction is massive. Hundreds of families now have evacuated the building and the building next to it, and the buildings opposite to it, which means ... more families have been added to the list of thousands of families who have been displaced in the Gaza Strip right now. No place in Gaza now seems safe," al-Sayed said.

In a statement AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said he was "shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza."

"This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time," Pruitt said.

This is at least the third reported instance of Israeli forces targeting media offices in Gaza in recent days. On Wednesday Israeli forces bombed the building housing the APA media offices and others.

-updated 3:10 pm GMT

Israel kills 10 members of the same family in airstrike on Gaza refugee camp

Israel targeted a Palestinian home in the Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday morning, killing 10 members of the same extended family — two women and eight children.

The airstrike targeted a home in the crowded refugee camp, where more than 85,628 Palestinian refugees live in an area of 0.52 square kilometres, according to UNRWA. It's one of the most crowded and densely populated of Gaza's eight refugee camps.

Casualties were reported to be from two families, the Abu Hatab and al-Hadidi families. Reports indicated that they were related.

Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that the airstrike came without prior warning, and at least 20 people wounded in the attack. Several more were believed to be buried under the rubble.

One of the doctors at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza who was treating the wounded described the attack to Al Jazeera, saying "this is truly a massacre that cannot be described.

One of the only survivors of the attack was a five-month-old baby named Omar al-Hadidi who was pulled out of the rubble of the home.

Omar's mother (name unknown), and his brothers Suheib, 14, Abdelrahman, 8, Wisam, 6 were all killed. Reports from earlier Saturday morning indicated that one of the other children Yahya, 11, was still buried under the rubble.

A video of Omar's father, Mohammed al-Hadidi, at the hospital shows him saying that his wife and kids had gone to visit his wife's brother in the Shati camp for Eid holidays, where they were attacked.

The family were buried in a funeral on Saturday afternoon.

"The funeral of the martyrs of women and children victims of the massacre of the Beach Camp."
bombed house gaza
© Ashraf Amra/APA Images
Palestinians inspect the Abu Hatab family house after an Israeli air strike struck their house located in al-Shati Refugee Camp without warning during the night, in Gaza City early on May 15, 2021.