Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISPT0302

Incident date

October 17, 2023

Location

محيط المستشفى الكويتي, Vicinity of Kuwaiti Hospital, Rafah Governorate, the Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.289743, 34.251428 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At dawn on Tuesday, October 17th 2023, between 17 and 26 civilians were reported killed, including at least seven women and five children, one of whom was an infant. Dozens of others, including children, were also reported wounded in the alleged Israeli airstrike on the home of the Abu Lebda family near the Kuwaiti Hospital in the town of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. According to Firas Abu Shakhr, the attack happened without prior warning.

Safa News reported on there being “dozens of martyrs and wounded” in the bombing, with TRT News sharing videos of the wounded and killed being carried by grieving family members away from the rubble of their destroyed home, and of a surviving woman’s heartbreaking screams for her children, “Where are my six children? Where are the Arabs?” TRT reported that wounded and killed civilians were transported on foot because it was not possible to transport them in ambulances, which were already over capacity with wounded civilians. It also quoted medical sources as saying the bombing resulted in “26 dead, including children and women, and dozens of wounded.”

A Facebook account Diwan of the honorable Abu Lebda shared very disturbing videos of the aftermath of the attack showing the wounded children crying from pain. Firas Abu Shakhr shared the pictures of the injured civilians, including children, whom doctors tried to resuscitate.

Many sources described the bombing as a “massacre”, with a Facebook user Sari Baraka noting, “My aunt, her children, her husband, her husband’s family, their wives and their children were martyred in a massacre…. Not all bodies have been recovered and the number of martyrs has not been counted yet”.

Social media testimonies by family relatives and friends helped to identify the names of 17 killed members of the Abu Labdeh family.

A 61-year-old man Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh (Abu Khaled) was killed alongside his 61-year-old wife Kawthar Abu Labdeh (Umm Khaled), their two sons –  32-year-old Khaled Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh and 33-year-old Ahmed Saleh Mahmoud  Abu Labdeh and their 21-year-old daughter Shahad Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh. Khaled Abu Labdeh was killed along with his wife and his infant daughter, while  Ahmed was killed along with his wife and his 5-year old son Saleh Ahmed Saleh Abu Labdeh.

Hisham Abu Lebda wrote a touching Facebook testimony to his late uncle Saleh abu Labdeh, saying, “You are gone, uncle. Who wants to call us now?” He shared an image of his uncle, an elderly man in a checkered shirt. The late Ahmed Saleh was remembered in the post by Ramy Saleh who shared an image of a young man in a striped shirt.

Among the victims of the deadly attack was also Abu Khaled’s 50-year old sister-in-law Kholoud Ibrahim Ahmad Al-Najjar Abu Labdeh, the mother of Fadi Abu Labdeh, alongside her two sons, 20-year-old Tariq Salah Abu Labdeh and 16-year old Muhannad Salah Abu Labdeh, and her two daughters, 22-year-old Alaa Salah Abu Labdeh and 30-year-old Hanin Salah Abu Labdeh. Hanin was killed with her two sons, 7-year-old Mohammad Ahmed Mahmoud Abu Labdeh, 4-year-old Marwan Ahmad Mahmoud Abu Labdeh and 5-year-old daughter Joan Ahmad Mahmoud Abu Labdeh. According to the Abu Ahmad Aburazan Alnajjarm condolence message on Facebook, Khouloud’s husband Salah Abu Fadi and her son Fadi abu Lebda survived.

Fadyi Abu Labdeh, who survived the bombing, mourned the death of his mother, brothers, sisters, uncle and their families. The husband of the late Hanin Abu Labdeh, Ahmad Ibn Mahmoud, wrote a Facebook tribute to his deceased wife and children, sharing images with three young children with school bags.

A Facebook account Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda posted pictures of some of the killed members of Abu Labdeh family, including pictures of the young children.

All names civilians have been matched with the Palestinian Ministry of Health list of fatalities in Gaza released on October 26th, 2023.

Where sources identified the belligerents all sources attributed the strikes to Israeli forces.

Due to the scale and urgency of Airwars’ assessment process, all images have been automatically uploaded to each assessment with the graphic filter applied to protect users. We have also included all images identified from the sources, which may also include any imagery of combatants.

The incident occured around dawn.

The victims were named as:

Family members (17)

Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh صالح محمود ابولبدة
61 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 919883272
Kawthar Abu Labdeh كوثر ابولبدة
61 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 967466269
Khaled Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh خالد صالح ابولبدة
32 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 803207091
Ahmed Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh احمد صالح ابولبدة
33 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 802731182
Shahad Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh شهد صالح ابولبدة
21 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 407877349
Wife of Khaled Abu Labdeh (Unnamed)
Adult female killed
Daughter of Khaled Abu Labdeh (Unnamed)
Child female killed
Wife of Ahmed Saleh Mahmoud Abu Labdeh (Unnamed)
Adult female killed
Saleh Ahmed Saleh Abu Labdeh صالح أحمد صالح ابو لبده
5 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 439118639
Kholoud Ibrahim Ahmad Al-Najjar Abu Labdeh خلود ابراهيم النجار ابولبدة
50 years old female Matched to MoH ID 934334657
Tariq Salah Abu Labdeh طارق صلاح ابولبدة
20 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 408835155
Muhannad Salah Abu Labdeh مهند صلاح ابولبدة
16 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 424733327
Alaa Salah Abu Labdeh الاء صلاح ابولبدة
22 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 407183623
Hanin Salah Abu Labdeh حنين صلاح ابولبدة
30 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 804717510
Mohammad Ahmed Mahmoud Abu Labdeh محمد
7 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 436942999
Marwan Ahmad Mahmoud Abu Labdeh مروان
4 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 441276540
Joan Ahmad Mahmoud Abu Labdeh جوان
5 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 440689966

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    17 – 26
  • (6 children7 women4 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–24
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Military

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (32) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Lmine MH
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Lmine MH
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Lmine MH
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Lmine MH
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Lmine MH
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Firas Abu Shakhr
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Firas Abu Shakhr
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Firas Abu Shakhr
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Firas Abu Shakhr
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Firas Abu Shakhr
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Journalist Adel Zourob Official
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Hassan A Zourob
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: DS African
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Medline Essam Al-Aqraa
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Medline Essam Al-Aqraa
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Medline Essam Al-Aqraa
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Abu Gaza
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Journalist Adel Zourob Official
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Naje Abulebdeh
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Hisham Abu Lebda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Ramy Saleh
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Ahmad Ibn Mahmoud
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Ahmad Ibn Mahmoud
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  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Kuwaiti Hospital (المستشفى الكويتي) in the city of Rafah (رفح). Analysing audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed the location down to the following exact coordinates: 31.289743, 34.251428.  

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  • Imagery:
    Firas Abu Shakhr

  • Imagery:
    Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda

  • Imagery:
    Diwan of The Honorable Abu Lebda

Israeli Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Israeli Military
  • Israeli Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    17 – 26
  • (6 children7 women4 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–24
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Military

Sources (26) [ collapse]