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April 15, 2009

Cast Lead: Report on the Abu Halima family in Beit Lahiya

[RAMALLAH, 15 April 2009] - On 4 January 2009, white phosphorus shells struck the house of the Abu Halima family in Beit Lahiya (northern Gaza) following Israel’s ground invasion during Operation Cast Lead.

Four siblings, Shahd (1.5), Hamza (7), Zaid (10) and Abed al-Rahim (13) and their father were killed in the explosion and fire that ensued. Another female relative died from her injuries almost three months later in a hospital in Egypt. Several other family members, including their mother, two other siblings, Ali (5) and Yousef (15), and a 3-year-old niece suffered white phosphorus burns. The 3-year-old remains hospitalized in Egypt with life threatening third degree burns.

As family members attempted to evacuate the injured, they came under gunfire from Israeli soldiers killing two cousins aged 16 and 17, and wounding yet another sibling aged 17, as well as an adult female relative.

In total, eight members of the Abu Halima family were killed, including six children:

  • Shahd Sa'dallah Matar Abu Halima (1.5)
  • Hamza Sa'dallah Matar Abu Halima (7)
  • Zaid Sa'dallah Matar Abu Halima (10)
  • Abed al-Rahim Sa'dallah Matar Abu Halima (13)
  • Mohammad Hekmat Matar Abu Halima (16)
  • Matar Sa'd Matar Abu Halima (17)

Seven family members were injured, including four children:

  • Farah Mohammad Sa'dallah Abu Halima (3)
  • Ali Sa'dallah Matar Abu Halima (5)
  • Yousef Sa'dallah Matar Abu Halima (15)
  • Omar Sa'dallah Matar Abu Halima (17)

In light of the documented facts of this case and the serious allegations raised, DCI-Palestine continues its call for:

  • An independent and comprehensive investigation into alleged violations of international humanitarian law, and where proven true, the prompt prosecution in accordance with international law of those found responsible for ordering, planning and carrying out war crimes;
  • The official suspension of the upgrade of EU-Israel bi-lateral relations pending the investigation; and the annulment of the upgrade should Israel be found guilty of war crimes.

Read the full report: Cast Lead: Six Abu Halima children killed and four injured during Israeli ground invasion in Beit Lahiya

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