Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISPT0405

Incident date

October 20, 2023

Location

محيط المستشفى الأوروبي, Vicinity of the European Hospital, Khan Younis, the Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.303534, 34.320700 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Around 5pm on Friday October 20th 2023, an alleged Israeli airstrike on the Al-Aqad family house located near the European Hospital in the Al-Manara neighborhood south to the town of Khan Yunis killed a Palestinian poet and novelist Heba (Hiba) Kamal Saleh Abu Nada alongside her son and ten identified members of the Al-Aqad family, the majority of whom were women and children, among them one infant, and at least six others were wounded.

Initially Shehab Agency correspondent reported about five civilians killed in the strike and a number of wounded and missing ones, but later Alqhad.tv, Almayadeen.net and Watan news reported that the death toll rose to seven. Alqhad.tv also mentioned that six people were injured, with Almayadeen.net mentioning that “children” were among the injured.

The Facebook testimony by Ahmed Ismael Al-Akkad helped to identify ten members of the Al-Aqad family who were killed in the strike alongside the poet and novelist Hiba Abu Nada who apparently had been displaced and had been staying in that house as a guest together with her son who had also been reportedly killed. Thus, the number of the victims killed in the attack reached twelve people.

A 52-year old woman Nahed Qasim Abdullah Al-Aqad Safi was killed alongside her son, her two daughters, her sister, and her grandchildren. It was written in Alakaad Family Pace post that she was a widow of Yahya Muhammad Abdullah Al-Aqqad “Abu Al-Nour” who was called a “martyr”. Nahed’s son, a 29-year old Muhammad Yahya Abdel al-Aqad was killed alongside his wife, a 23-year old Deena Dhafer Hamdi Al-Aqad, and their daughter Nevin Muhammad Yahya Al-Aqad who was only one year and three months old when she was killed. Nahed’s 33-year old daughter Nevin Yahya Muhammad Al-Aqad lost her life together with her son 13 year old Ahmed Salah Selim and her 25-year old sister Nidaa Yahya Muhammad Al-Aqad.

Nahed’s 27-year old sister Reham Mahmoud Qasim Al-Aqad Safi was killed alongside her 5-year old son Yahya Nour El-Din Yahya Al-Aqad and her infant son Muhammad Nour al-Din Yahya al-Aqad who was only two months old.

A Facebook post by Alakaad Family Pace contained images of the corpses of the family members wrapped in cloth as well as a graphic image of a dead woman embracing her dead child entitled “Eternal sleep”. A Twitter/X user @Mustafa3Ahed shared a graphic image of a dead body of an infant arriving to the morgue after the airstrike on Al-Aqad family house.

As mentioned above, among the victims was a Palestinian poet and writer Hiba (Heba) Abu Nada who was killed with her son. The Palestinian Ministry of Culture published an official condolence statement dedicated to her, describing the deceased woman as  “a creative writer who wrote stories, novels, and poetry.”

The 32-year-old Hiba Abu Nada was born in 1991 in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to a Palestinian family from the village of Beit Jarjah. She studied biochemistry and educational rehabilitation, worked in education and won several awards for her writing. Abu Nada published collections of poetry and a novel “Oxygen is Not for the Dead” which won second place at the Sharjah Awards for Arab creativity in 2017.

Her last poem was published on the social platform X/Twitter just a few days before her death:

“Gaza’s night is dark apart from the glow of rockets,

quiet apart from the sound of the bombs,

terrifying apart from the comfort of prayer,

black apart from the light of the martyrs.

Good night, Gaza”

The legacy of Hiba Abu Nada was mentioned in an article by the British media outlet The Guardian which emphasized that before the war, Gaza had a “huge arts community”, that was now being destroyed by the war. Images of the late Hiba published by The Guardian and social media accounts show a young woman in a beige and red hijab.

Her friend Mohammad Ziyad Shawdab shared an image of her holding a book, and wrote about his loss: “My friend, the novelist, poet, and human being Heba Abu Nada rises as a martyr from the Al-Aqsa Flood. They were difficult days, Heba. You told us the story as best you could. Go up to Gaza, the sky.”

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

Where sources identified the belligerent, 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 at approximately 5:00 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Heba (Hiba) Kamal Saleh Abu Nada هبة كمال ابو ندى
32 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 803079631
Son of Hiba ابن هبة
Child male killed

Family members (10)

Nahed Qasim Abdullah Al-Aqad Safi ناهد قاسم عبدالله العقاد صافي
52 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 916580046
Muhammad Yahya Abdel Aqad محمد يحيى عبد العقاد
29 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 400045472
Deena Dhafer Hamdi Al-Aqad دينا ظافر حمدي العقاد
23 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 407142363
Nevin Muhammad Yahya Al-Aqad نفين محمد يحيى العقاد
1.5 years old female killed
Nidaa Yahya Muhammad Al-Aqad نداء يحيى محمد العقاد
25 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 403717580
Nevin Yahya Muhammad Al-Aqad نفين يحيى محمد العقاد
33 years old female killed
Ahmed Salah Selim أحمد صلاح سليم
13 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 429379332
Reham Mahmoud Qasim Al-Akkad Safi ريهام محمود قاسم العقاد صافي
27 years old female killed Matched to MoH ID 402158224
Muhammad Nour al-Din Yahya al-Aqqad محمد نور الدين يحيى العقاد
Less than 1 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 444650097
Yahya Nour El-Din Yahya Al-Aqad يحيى نور الدين يحيى العقاد
5 years old male killed Matched to MoH ID 439026527

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    12
  • (5 children6 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    6
  • 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 (33) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (7) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Alakaad Family Pace
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Alakaad Family Pace
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Alakaad Family Pace
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: @Mustafa3Ahed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: D. Amina Hazmoun
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Mohammad Ziyad Shawdab
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Qassan selih abo ibrahim

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of the European Hospital (المستشفى الأوروبي) to the south of Khan Younis (خان يونس), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.303534, 34.320700. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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
    12
  • (5 children6 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    6
  • 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 (33) [ collapse]