Amnesty International (AI) released new evidence on Monday of “unlawful” Israeli attacks in Gaza. AI warns of a “real risk of genocide” as Israeli forces continue to “flout” international humanitarian law and obliterate entire families.
The report focuses on four strikes that occurred between December 2023 and January 2024 in Rafah, a southern governorate of Gaza. These strikes resulted in the deaths of at least 95 civilians, including 42 children. According to the report, despite being located in what was considered a “safe” area, the strikes targeted civilian residences. AI’s investigation found no evidence indicating that the targeted buildings were legitimate military objectives. AI also analyzed satellite imagery and conducted on-site investigations as part of their investigation. Despite attempts to engage with Israeli authorities for clarification on the strikes, AI received no response at the time of publication.
The report explains the devastation experienced by families, with survivor testimonies illustrating the horrific consequences of these attacks. One particular incident involved the Harb family, where an Israeli strike directly targeted their homes, resulting in the deaths of 25 civilians, including 10 children. Furthermore, survivors described their traumatizing experiences of being trapped under rubble for hours, with many suffering severe injuries.
This is one of AI’s several reports asserting that the Israeli military is violating international humanitarian law. Additionally, last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed concern for the safety of Palestinian refugees in Rafah after Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office confirmed its plans for military action in the area, saying he was “especially alarmed” by a potential ground invasion. These attacks occur amid a siege on Gaza, exacerbating resource deprivation, including water and food shortages, and contributing to the risk of famine. The population in Rafah has soared due to successive waves of displacement, straining resources and aid efforts. Despite intermittent ceasefires, the situation remains volatile.