Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISPT010

Incident date

May 11, 2021

Location

شارع الطواحين, Al Tawahin Street, The Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.492999, 34.476063 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Street level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Street

Airwars assessment

Between one and two civilians were killed and three others were injured in alleged Israeli strikes on Al Tawahin street in the eastern Shejaiya neighborhood on May 11th 2021.

According to Al Mezan center for Human Rights, “at approximately 9pm, Israel’s air forces targeted a group of people in the Shejaiya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, killing 34-year-old Mohammed Abdel Rauf Helles“. @RoyaTV also reported that one Palestinian was killed.

Ma`maoun Aldardsawi posted on Facebook an image of a child identified to be Mohammed Helles’ only child and added that after his father was killed, the child kept asking “where is my father?”

Gaza Governorates Electricity Distribution Company also posted that Mohammed Helles was one of the employees and that they were mourning his death.

Cousins of Mohammed Helles,@HellesRiad and @Mohamed28Helles, tweeted that their cousin was killed in Israeli strikes on “the eastern neighborhood of Shejaiya”.

A tweet from @aa_arabic identified “two “serious” injuries after an Israeli bombardment targeting a civilian car in the Shejaiya neighborhood.” It is unclear if the injuries mentioned in this post refer to the same civilians that later died.

B’Tselem collected testimony from Ziad Hiles, 63, a father of nine, Muhammad ‘Abed a-Ra’uf Muhammed Hiles’ cousin, who said “I own a small shop in the neighborhood of a-Shuja’iyeh. About 30 meters away, there’s a shop that used to belong to the martyr Muhammad. On Tuesday, 11 May 2021, at around 9:00 P.M., after the Ramadan meal, I was in my shop. Muhammad came to open up his shop. He always came by before opening. I sat and drank tea with him and with three other young men from my family. About 45 minutes later, Muhammad went to his shop to open it. Just after he got there, I heard a very loud explosion. The whole area was dark because the power was out. I looked towards Muhammad’s shop and saw that the front door had been bombed. I saw him running towards me. His hand was wounded and he was holding it tightly. I called out to him to come quickly and hide in my shop, but he didn’t respond. I guess he didn’t hear me. About a minute after the first missile, before Muhammad could get to my shop, another missile hit him. I was blown backwards from the force of the blast. My son Muhammad, 34, who was next to me, also flew back. I was holding a small flashlight and turned it on to see Muhammad. I crawled over to him and touched his body. I shouted, “Muhammad’s been killed, Muhammad’s been killed.” His body was mutilated. His arms and feet were broken, and everything was full of blood. The neighbors came immediately with a civilian car and took away Muhammad’s body. They also took ‘Ali Jundiyah, who was seriously injured.  About half an hour later, an ambulance arrived and took my son Muhammad and me to a-Shifaa Hospital. I was X-rayed, and they found I had bruises in my pelvic area. I was given a shot and painkillers. My son was injured in his left fingers and had glass shards in his chest. I was discharged that night and went with my wife to my son Tareq’s house in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood. We couldn’t go home because I was in a bad mental state and also because we were afraid of the airstrikes. We stayed with him until the war was over, and only then went back home….He has one son, who’s four years old. Whenever I see him, I cry and hug and kiss him. I see Muhammad’s mother pass by my shop every day, morning and evening, on her way to visit the grave. Every time I see her, it breaks my heart. Muhammad was a good, respectable man. He used to help the poor and anyone who was in need. I miss him very much. I walk around feeling that something’s missing in the world. I hope he enters into the grace of God and goes to heaven.”

A post from Mohammad.hilles on Facebook said that “the Helles family bids farewell to two martyrs, the heroic martyr Muhammad Abdel Raouf Helles, and the hero martyr Muhammad Yahya Abu Al-Ata Helles.” Al Jazeera also reported on “the death of two people who were in the vehicle” in Shejaiya. It is unclear if this is the same Muhammad mentioned above as being injured by his father.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the strikes to Israel.

The incident occured at 9:00 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

  • ‘Ali Jundiyah Age unknown Seriously injured injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Armed Forces

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Image of Muhammad Abdul Raouf Helles, killed in alleged Israeli strikes on the eastern neighborhood of Shejaia on May 11, 2021. (Image posted by @Mohamed28Helles)
  • Image of Muhammad Abdul Raouf Helles, killed in alleged Israeli strikes on the eastern neighborhood of Shejaia on May 11, 2021. (Image posted by @ayaassl)
  • Image of Muhammad Yahya Abu Al-Ata Helles, killed in alleged Israeli strikes on the eastern neighborhood of Shejaia on May 11, 2021. (Image posted by Mohammad.hilles via Facebook)
  • Child of Muhammad Abdul Raouf Helles, whose father was killed in alleged Israeli strikes on the eastern neighborhood of Shejaia on May 11, 2021. (Image posted by Ma`maoun Aldardsawi via Facebook)
  • Image of Muhammad Abdul Raouf Helles, killed in alleged Israeli strikes on the eastern neighborhood of Shejaia on May 11, 2021. (Image posted by Gaza Governorates Electricity Distribution Company via Facebook)
  • Damage to a vehicle that led to the death of two civilians in alleged Israeli strikes on the eastern neighborhood of Shejaia on May 11, 2021. (Image posted by AMAD via Facebook)
  • Muhammed Helles, killed in strikes on a-Shuja'iyeh neighborhood on May 11, 2021. (Image posted by B'Tselem)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention Al Tawahin Street (شارع الطواحين), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.492999, 34.476063. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention Al Tawahin Street (شارع الطواحين).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Israeli Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Israeli Armed Forces
  • Israeli Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Armed Forces

Sources (29) [ collapse]