Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISPT072

Incident date

May 15, 2021

Location

شارع سوق الجمعة, Souq Al Jouma Street, the Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.496293, 34.469411 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Street level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Street

Airwars assessment

Up to three people, potentially including one child, were killed and 13 others were injured in a pair of alleged Israeli airstrikes on the Friday Market (Souq al Juma’a) in Al Shujaiya, Gaza Strip on Saturday 15 May 2021.

Multiple sources report that the first strike hit a group of citizens around 1.30 p.m., killing Saif Al-Din Abu Al-Atta, aged 18, and wounding nine others; the second strike killed Muhammad Ahmed Attia Bahar, age reported between 17 and 22 by multiple sources, and wounded a further four civilians. On 3 June, one of those injured, Yahya Bassem Al-Ajla, aged 24, died as a result of his injuries.

B’Tselem provided testimony from Mahmoud al-‘Ar’ir, 24, Yihya’s cousin: On Saturday, 15 May 2021, at around 1:30 P.M., I was home. I went to my paternal aunt’s house, which is on a side street off the main street where Yihya lived. On the way, I met my paternal cousin Muhammad, 21, and stopped to chat with him. A few minutes later, I heard a very loud explosion. I ran to the site of the bombing on the main street and saw the missile had landed at the entrance to Yihya’s house. A small TV repair business next door had also been hit. On the road next to me was the body of the martyr Seif Hani Abu al-‘Ata. Not far from him lay Muhammad Bhar, who was still breathing. I rushed to Yihya’s house and saw some young guys carrying the brothers Majd and Muhammad al-‘Ajleh, Yihya and Seif Fadel Abu al-‘Ata. We gave them first aid on Yihya’s uncle’s bus. Two other wounded people were treated inside an Electric Company vehicle. Then we took all the martyrs and wounded people to a-Shifaa Hospital. I was shocked by the sight of the martyrs and the wounded people. They were all very badly injured. Yihya’s injury was particularly severe, he had shrapnel in his neck and back. Majd was also very badly injured in the head and stomach and is being treated at a hospital in Hebron. His brother Muhammad was injured in the legs and is still being treated at a-Shifaa Hospital. Muhammad a-Zaqut has medium-level injuries in the shoulder and leg. I wanted to visit Yihya in hospital, but he was unconscious and they wouldn’t let me see him. The hospital wanted to transfer him to al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, but the Israelis didn’t approve it. I saw Seif Abu al-‘Ata and Muhammad a-Zaqut, who were doing well. I went to Yihya’s mother’s house, who’s my paternal aunt, to support her and see how she was doing. Yihya was my friend and we had a very strong bond. I hoped Yihya would recover and come home to his family, but it wasn’t meant to be. After 18 days in the ICU, on 3 June 2021 at 3:00 A.M., we were informed that he had passed away. I couldn’t believe it. I went immediately to my aunt’s house. All my relatives, neighbors and friends were there. My aunt, her husband and her sons were screaming and crying. I was heartbroken over my beloved friend Yihya. At 11:00 A.M., an ambulance brought his body home so we could say goodbye to him there. When I saw him, I fell to the floor and cried. I couldn’t touch him because I was in such shock. We took him to the mosque and there, I hugged and kissed him. All around, the mourners were wailing and everyone was crying over Yihya. Yihya was always smiling. When I looked at him after he died, it seemed like he was smiling. We’d been friends since we were little kids. We met every day and hung out together, at my place or at his. We would go out at night, and in the morning walk to the beach for sport. Now that he’s dead, I feel lonely. I’ve lost a very precious person. Life after his passing is a life without laughter or smiles. I still can’t believe I’ll never see him again.”

B’Tselem also provided testimony from Lubna Bhar, 50, a mother of six including Muhammad: “On Saturday, 15 May 2021, I was making lunch at my son ‘Atiyyah’s house. Muhammad was standing next to me and he said, “I love you, Mom.” He kissed me, headed downstairs and went out to buy some things at a shop nearby. It was 1:30 P.M. The moment he left, I heard a loud explosion. I screamed and called out, “Muhammad!” I looked out the window and saw dust and smoke on the street. I hurried downstairs and found Muhammad lying in the doorway, bleeding. I screamed for help, and Majdi came and picked him up. Muhammad was crying and saying, “I want Mom and Dad.” Majdi told him to recite the Shahadatain. Muhammad was taken to hospital in a private car, along with other martyrs and wounded people. It was a massacre at my son’s doorstep. The stairs were full of blood. I will never forget the sight. Majdi went with Muhammad to a-Shifaa Hospital, and I stayed home. My husband drove after them and every time I called him or my sons, they told me Muhammad was fine. But I sensed that he wasn’t okay, that I’d lost him. Two hours after he was injured, I went to the hospital, too. I sat by the entrance to the operating room, reading the Quran and praying for him. The doctors told me to pray because his condition was unstable. I still had hope. At 11:00 P.M., I suddenly heard Majdi shouting. I ran over to him and heard everyone saying Muhammad was dead. I saw Majdi lying over Muhammad’s body, crying and screaming, “Why did you let Muhammad go?!” I told the doctors to check on Muhammad, that maybe he was still alive. I felt I was losing my mind. I over up to Muhammad and screamed. I couldn’t believe what had happened. Only then, I saw my husband lying on the floor unconscious. The doctors were treating him. I fainted, too, and when I woke up I was told they’d already transferred Muhammad to the morgue. I went there and sat in front of the fridge for two hours, by Muhammad’s side. Then I hugged his body. I couldn’t say goodbye to him. I stayed there all night. At 6:00 A.M., I went back to Atiyyah’s house. They brought Muhammad’s body there so we could say goodbye to him. They laid him before me and I scattered flowers over him, hugged him and kissed his head and face. Then they took him away. I couldn’t say goodbye and ran after him along the road, holding onto him. Those were extremely difficult moments. My heart broke. I wish I had died instead of him. Since he died, life has turned black. He was my youngest son and the dearest to my heart.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (MAITIC), an Israeli research organisation with links to the military and intelligence services, reported that Saif Al-Din Abu Al-Atta and Muhammad Ahmed Attia Bahar had been killed in an Israeli airstrike, although this does not constitute official acknowledgement of the strike by the IDF. B’Tselem added that “Seif a-Din Abu al-‘Ata was an operative with the Islamic Jihad military wing, but it is unknown whether he was the reason the military bombed the house.” However, none of the other sources mention that Seif was a member of a militant organization.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Yahya Bassem al-Ajla 24 years old male killed
  • Majd al-‘Ajleh male injured
  • Muhammad al-‘Ajleh male injured
  • Saif Al-Din Abu Al-Atta 18 years old male killed
  • Muhammad Ahmed Attia Bahar 17-22 years old male killed
  • Muhammad a-Zaqut Age unknown injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • (1 child1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    13
  • 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
  • Suspected target
    Palestinian Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (42) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (16) [ collapse]

  • Saif Hani Abu Atta, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by @fidaazaanin)
  • Nearby civilian following strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by @AlmakdesyMedia)
  • Mourning civilians killed in souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by GazaNews via Facebook)
  • The martyrdom of my cousin Mohamed Ahmed Bahar
  • Muhammad Ahmed Attia Bahar, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by Abu Rajab, his cousin)
  • Muhammad Ahmed Attia Bahar, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by Anasm271 via Facebook)
  • Muhammad Ahmed Attia Bahar, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by ATia Abu Mohammad via Facebook)
  • Yahya Bassem al-Ajla, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by @rdooan)
  • Funeral of Yahya Bassem al-Ajla, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by @rdooan)
  • Yahya Bassem al-Ajla, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by Alajla.family via Facebook)
  • Yahya Bassem al-Ajla, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by Alajla.family via Facebook)
  • Yahya Bassem al-Ajla, killed in strikes on souq Al Joum’a street in Al Shujaiya neighborhood on May 15th, 2021. (Image posted by the New York Times)
  • Yihya al-‘Ajleh, killed in strikes on a-Shuja'iyeh neighborhood on May 15, 2021. (Image posted by B'Tselem)
  • Lubna Bahar holding up her son's photos. Her son Muhammad Bhar was killed. Photo by Olfat al-Kurd, B'Tselem
  • Muhammad Bhar, killed in strikes on a-Shuja'iyeh neighborhood on May 15, 2021. (Image posted by B'Tselem)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention Al Montar street (شارع المنطار) known locally as the Souq Al Jouma street (شارع سوق الجمعة), located in Al Shujaiya (الشجاعية) neighborhood, for which the generic coordinates are: 31.496293, 34.469411. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention Al Montar street (شارع المنطار) known locally as the Souq Al Jouma street (شارع سوق الجمعة), located in Al Shujaiya (الشجاعية) neighborhood.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

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
    2 – 3
  • (1 child1–2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    13
  • 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
  • Suspected target
    Palestinian Forces
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (42) [ collapse]