The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Days 5-6: Following Genocidal Statements, Israel Escalates Attacks on Gaza’s Civilians

Killing, Starvation, and Cutting Off Vital Supplies

Photo by Ashra Amra

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 12 October 2023 

For the sixth consecutive day, Israel continued to attack Gaza with enormous and destructive weaponry, bombing and razing entire residential buildings with their residents still inside, destroying streets and infrastructure, and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians from their homes, especially in the eastern areas of the Strip.

As Israel intensifies its strikes all over the Gaza Strip, there is no longer a safe place to take refuge, not even the coordinated shelters, as many have been bombed. Intense Israeli air, land, and sea strikes have killed hundreds of civilians and injured thousands, while a large number of those killed remain under the rubble, unable to be recovered by rescue teams.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, between 7 October 2023 and 12:50 pm on 12 October 2023, the Palestinian death toll has risen 1,354, including 326 children and 170 women, while the number of those injured is 6,049, of whom 60 percent comprise children and women. Also, Israeli raids have destroyed thousands of housing units, and private and public properties.

With its only power plant out of operation, electricity in Gaza is nearly completely depleted, threatening a severe humanitarian catastrophe. This has already affected the provision of many services, including water, communications and the Internet, leaving Gaza almost totally cut off and isolated from the outside world.


Our organizations’ field researchers are facing extreme difficulties moving around Gaza to document the violations, due to the high intensity of Israeli shelling resulting in massive destruction to the roads network and infrastructure, and interruptions in the telecommunications network and the Internet. Our technical staff are facing similar difficulties in disseminating the data and monitoring violations.

The following incidents highlight the most severe Israeli attacks carried out in Gaza between midday on 11 October and midday on 12 October 2023, as monitored and documented jointly by Al-Mezan, Al-Haq, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: 

  • In the Northern Gaza District, Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes, destroying two houses in Beit Lahiya owned by the Nsair and Al-Bes families with occupants still inside. They also targeted residential areas in Jabaliya, Al-Tawam, Al-Amoudi, and Al-Karama neighborhoods, numerous missiles being employed without prior warning. These attacks killed 55 Palestinians, including 10 women and 19 children, and destroyed numerous houses. 
  • In Gaza District, dozens of airstrikes were launched from Israeli warplanes on residential neighborhoods, accompanied by intense shelling by field artillery and naval vessels. The bombing destroyed numerous houses, and five residential compounds were targeted with their residents still inside. Furthermore, several roads were bombed, including the street behind the Al-Quds Hospital, in the Tal Al-Hawa area. The attacks killed 78 Palestinians, including 40 children and 16 women. Additionally, in the past few hours, the bodies of 28 Palestinians, including those of seven children and two women, were received by Al-Shifa Hospital; these were the bodies of people killed by Israeli attacks in various areas of Gaza City, with some recovered from the rubble of previously destroyed houses.
  • In the Middle Area District, Israeli warplanes conducted multiple airstrikes on residential neighborhoods, houses, and agricultural lands, accompanied by intense shelling from field artillery and naval vessels. The bombing was particularly heavy in the three densely populated refugee camps of Al-Bureij, Al-Nusairat, and Deir Al-Balah. The intense airstrikes resulted in significant damage to various infrastructure and electricity networks, and considerable destruction to multi-story houses and residential apartments belonging to the Al-Bardawil, Baraka, and Abu Dayya families.These attacks killed 35 Palestinians, including 14 children and seven women, with dozens more injured. Civil defense and medical teams are still searching for missing people under the rubble. Furthermore, Israeli naval shelling caused extensive damage to Gaza’s Fishermen Syndicate building and fishermen’s facilities. Some houses have not yet been reached by rescue teams due to limited resources. 
  • In Khan Younis, Israeli forces targeted several homes and residential apartments belonging to the Al-Bashiti, Al-Najjar, Abu Al-Rish, Abu Daqqa, and Abu Mustafa families, while their residents were still inside. The attacks killed 36 Palestinians, including 17 children and eight women. Civil defense and medical teams are still searching for missing people under the rubble. Israeli forces continued to target entire residential neighborhoods with aerial and artillery bombardment in the eastern areas of Khan Younis, including in Khuza’a, Abasan al-Kabira, Abasan al-Jadida, Al-Qarara, and Al-Fukhari. Most of the residents of those areas had already left their homes earlier having received warnings and orders to evacuate. The attacks led to extensive destruction in several residential neighborhoods, including a significant number of homes, shops and infrastructure. Israeli naval shelling also continued in Khan Younis port, destroying Palestinian fishing boats, equipment, and other fishermen facilities.
  • In Rafah District, Israeli warplanes conducted numerous airstrikes targeting several houses and a vocational training center. The airstrikes, which were accompanied by intense shelling from artillery in the east and from naval vessels to the west of the city, targeted residential neighborhoods in the densely populated Rafah refugee camp. The houses of the Zannoun, Al-Ajez, Shallouf, Olwan, Abu Shaar, Baroud, Ahmed, Fujo, Abu Marzouq, Al-Rakhawi, Ashour, and Abu Ghali families were targeted and destroyed with their residents inside. The attacks killed 25 Palestinians, including nine children and four women. Civil defense and medical teams are still searching for missing people under the rubble.

According to UN estimates, more than 340,000 people have been internally displaced, with over 218,600 seeking shelter in more than 92 UNRWA schools across the Gaza Strip. Human rights organizations continue to receive complaints from many people in shelters regarding the lack of services and necessities such as bedding and food. An urgent response from the UN is required to ensure the provision of basic needs for the survival of the people.

UNRWA has reported direct and collateral damage to at least 21 of its facilities, including schools sheltering displaced civilians. Further, 11 UNRWA staff members, including five teachers, a doctor, an engineer, and a psychologist, have been killed since the beginning of the Israeli offensive. 

The pre-existing humanitarian crisis in Gaza has been greatly exacerbated by Israel’s recent military attacks and the closure, which obstructs the supply of fuel, food, and medicine, in violation of international norms and treaties.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Al-Haq, and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemn Israel’s continued aggression and indiscriminate massacre of civilians, and the widespread and systematic destruction of civilian objects, amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. We further warn that the intensified attacks by the Israeli military on densely populated residential areas, alongside the total closure and the cutting of electricity, water, food and medicine supplies into Gaza, by Israel the Occupying Power seriously violates the right to health and life of the protected 2.3 million people living in the Gaza Strip, and  amounts to a death sentence.

Israel must immediately open safe corridors to allow the entry of humanitarian supplies necessary for the survival of the population, including  fuel, medical and food supplies and ensure the population’s access to water and electricity.

We reiterate our calls to the international community, in particular to the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to urgently and effectively intervene, to take concrete steps to stop the killings and starvation of Palestinian civilians, and avert the looming humanitarian crisis, and pressure Israel to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law. Furthermore, the international community must promptly intervene to ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians and guarantee the uninterrupted supply of medical, relief and fuel supplies to the civilian population, to mitigate the rapid and alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation on the ground.

We also call upon the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate Israeli crimes, in accordance with the Rome Statute, in particular the indiscriminate targeting of civilian homes and the killing of entire families, and to prosecute and hold accountable every individual who has carried out or ordered the commission of such crimes.







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