Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISPT0821

Incident date

November 2, 2023

Location

قطعة 4 في مخيم البريج, Block 4 in Bureij camp, Deir al Balah, the Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.440652, 34.402793 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On Thursday, November 2nd 2023, at least 29 identified civilians, including at least seven women and eleven children, were reportedly killed, dozens of civilians (among them a woman and child) were injured and eight residential houses were completely destroyed as a result of an alleged Israeli airstrike and/or artillery shelling on the residential neighborhood in block 4 (Akl family square) of the Bureij camp market located in the middle of the Gaza Strip. Al Jazeera Arabic (@AJArabic) also shared a video of the aftermath of the attack on Twitter/X, emphasizing that the bombardment was very close to the place of a previous attack.

Eight deceased members of the Agel family were remembered in a heartfelt Facebook testimony by Mosab Agel. Mosab’s mother, Kholoud Akl (Um Mosab) was killed together with her daughters (Mosab’s sisters) Saja Agel and Raghad Agel, whom he called “my beloved ones, the joy of my heart, and my comforters”. His uncle, his “caring companion” Maher Agel (Akl), his aunt Samah Agel together with her son, Baraa Agel, also lost their lives in the attack. Mosab Agel also mentioned his beloved cousin Hazem Hamza Agel and his other cousin, the child Ola Agel (Jamila), among the killed victims.

A young man Maher Aqel (Akl) was also remembered in a Facebook tribute on November 10th by Alburaij1948 where he was called “a precious Moon of the Bureij”. It was said that he was injured a few days before in this attack in Block 4.

The Wishah family suffered losses, having lost 19 family members in the attack. A family member Yasser Hassan Washah initially wrote in a Facebook post that the sons and grandchildren of his late uncle Saeed Ibrahim Weshah who had died during the first days of the war as well as their children and grandchildren were under the rubble. He also showed a video trying to pull two of his cousin Saeed Washah’s children from under the rubble.

In a later Facebook testimony he mourned the details of the family members killed in the strike, in particular, the uncle Saeed’s wife, Salwa Wishah (“Umm Rami”) and her sister, Sawsan Al-Sayyid; Salwa’s son, Waseem Saeed Wishah; daughter of Salwa, Haneen Saeed Wishah; and daughter-in-law of Salwa, Amani Jamal Wishah. He further mentioned the deceased children of Amani – a son Ahmed Wishah* and the daughters Dana Wishah* and Alma Wishah*. Among the victims was also another son of Salwa Wishah, Muhammad Saeed Wishah who was killed together with his wife, Salwa Muhammad Wishah, and their four children: two sons – Amir Wishah* and Saif Wishah* and two daughters – Maryam Wishah* and Mira Wishah*. A one-year old injured girl May Wishah who was the only surviving child of Salwa and Muhamad Wishah, and appears on an image shared by Yasser Hassan Washah in a red sweater holding a comb in her hands.

A daughter-in-law of Salwa married to Firas Saeed Weshah was injured, but their three children –  two daughters Salma Wishah* and Elin (Eileen) Wishah* and a son Said Wishah* were all killed. The woman was pregnant at the time of the attack. She suffered a pelvic fracture and gave birth to a baby boy several days after her injury. According to Yasser Hassan Washah, she still suffers from the risk of infection. One of her children, Muhammad, survived. They were reported to have remained in the field hospital located at the Ibn Rushd School in Al-Zawaida for some time.

The social media source Alburaij1948 also mourned the death of Al-Hajj Eid Othman Eid (Abu Muhammad), Mouhib Issa (Abu Hammam), and Yamen Raed Hamad, all of whom used to live in the Block 4 of Bureji camp. Alburaij1948 posted his tribute to Al-Hajj Eid Othman Eid, referring to him as a “good neighbor” and attaching a picture of the elderly man with a grey beard. Alburaij1948 also posted a tribute to a young man Yamen Raed Hamad pictured in a black-red sports jacket.

Alburaij1948 also shared the picture of the late Mouhib Issa – a smiling young man. The death of Mouhib Issa was also mourned by his friend Sameh Al Batran who shared the image of Sameh together with a young boy. Watan news shared an emotional video of the late Mouhib’s wife where she was mourning her deceased husband.

Samir Ahmed Al-Afghani (Abu Ahmed) also died in the bombardment, and was remembered in a Facebook testimony by the family of Abo Salem Al Masri that shared an image of an elderly man in a black coat. Samir’s nephew Benzaher Ali wrote his own tribute to his uncle, calling him “ kind-hearted and kind to the young and the old.”

The Palestinian refugee portal informed that the attack caused massive destruction in Block 4 in the center of the camp where more than 200 people, most of them children and women, used to live. The Tiwitter/X user Jalal (@JalalAK_jojo) reported that eight residential houses were flattened, attaching a video with the apocalyptic scenes of the destruction, while Facebook user Fadi Sh added that these houses were located in the Akl family square in the middle of the Bureij camp market. RassdNewsN added that shrapnel from the bombing and house debris fell on schools housing displaced people.

Eyewitnesses and journalists reported heartbreaking scenes accompanying the devastating effects of the bombardment. A video by the Palestinian press agency Safa on Twitter/X shows a young girl covered with dust who was being taken out from under the rubble of her family’s building and who asked the rescuers: “Are you taking me to the cemetery?”

Another emotional video shared by @EekadFacts and many other Twitter/X users shows a desperate father looking for his four children, wife and father, sifting through rubble with his bare hands, calling their names and crying as he received no response. A Twitter user @ajmubasher shared a video of a young crying boy looking for his mother after the deadly attack.

A survivor of the strike shared his experiences with Al Jazeera. “My family and I were sitting, and all of a sudden, we heard a huge explosive. Everything was flying around us. We couldn’t see anything but dust and smoke. It was massive. The whole area is turned upside down … all in a second. That was my home [pointing to rubble]. Now it is totally in ruins. I do not know what to say. We are helpless.”

Shehab Agency initially reported about “dozens of martyrs, wounded and missing people”, sharing the gruesome images of the smoke arising over the rubble. Mahmoud Basal, spokesman for the Palestinian Civil Defense in the Gaza Strip, said that the Civil Defense crews recovered 15 killed victims, noting that there were dozens of injured and missing people under the rubble of homes, and defense crews were working to recover them. Safa journalist reported about 22 civilians were killed. Only one local source estimated the potential death toll to be as high as 200 civilians. In a video shared by Twitter/X user @MunaHawwa, a young man present at the scene said that “there are at least 200 martyrs and missing persons”, but other local sources and news agencies did not report a comparable number of casualties. Based on the social media testimonies of the relatives and friends of the victims, Airwars identified 29 civilians by name that were reported killed in the deadly bombardment of the Bureji camp. Due to the lack of corroborating reporting for the higher casualty estimate, Airwars has put this casualty estimate to 29 civilians – though will update the range should further information come to light.

Al Jazeera reported that residents of Bureij chanted “a massacre, a massacre” as they covered the bodies of those killed in Thursday’s strike with blankets. Alhaya news shared the images from the funeral prayer for the victims where bodies covered with white clothes can be seen.

Dozens of civilians, including many small children, were reportedly injured. Al Jazeera shared a video that showed the arrival of a large number of children among other civilian casualties to the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs” Hospital in the city of Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip, while the Twitter/X user @AlQastalps shared images of the wounded children.

Where sources identified the belligerent, all sources attributed the strikes to Israeli forces. The exact time of the attack is unknown.

*Airwars has quantified them as children based on the ages of family members and images provided by sources.

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 local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (8)

Kholoud (Um Mus’ab) خلود أم مصعب
Adult female killed
Saja Agel رغد عقل
female killed
Raghad Agel سجى عقل
female killed
Maher Agel ماهر عقل
Adult male killed
Samah Agel سماح عقل
Adult female killed
Baraa Agel براء الحنون
male killed
Hazem Hamza Agel حازم حمزة عقل
killed
Ola Agel علا عقل
Child killed

Family members (19)

Salwa Washah, Umm Rami سلوى وشاح
Adult female killed
Sawsan Al-Sayyid سوسن السيد
Adult female killed
Waseem Saeed Wishah وسيم سعيد وشاح
male killed
Haneen Saeed Wishah حنين وشاح
female killed
Amani Jamal Wishah أماني جمال وشاح
Adult female killed
Ahmed Wishah أحمد وشاح
male killed
Dana Wishah دانا وشاح
female killed
Alma Wishah ألمى وشاح
female killed
Muhammad Saeed Wishah محمد سعيد وشاح
Adult male killed
Salwa Muhammad Wishah سلوى محمد وشاح
Adult female killed
Amir Wishah أمير وشاح
male killed
Saif Wishah سيف وشاح
male killed
Maryam Wishah مريم وشاح
female killed
Mira Wishah ميرا وشاح
female killed
Mai Wishah مي وشاح
1 years old female injured
Daughter in law of Salwa كنة سلوى وشاح
Adult female pregnant injured
Salma Wishah سلمى وشاح
female killed
Elin Wishah ألين وشاح
female killed
Said Wishah
female killed

The victims were named as:

Eid Othman Eid عيد عثمان عيد
Adult male killed
Mouhib Issa مهيب عيسى
Age unknown male killed
Samir Al Afghani سمير الأفغاني
Adult male killed
Yamen Raed Hamad يامن رائد حمد
Age unknown male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    29
  • (11–14 children7–9 women6–7 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 (64) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (54) [ collapse]

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    Source: @ShehabAgency
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    Source: @ShehabAgency
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    Source: @ShehabAgency
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    Source: @ShehabAgency
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    Source: @irode0
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    Source: @AlQastalps
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    Source: @AlQastalps
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    Source: @AlQastalps
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    Source: @AlQastalps
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    Source: Al Haya PS
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    Source: Al Haya PS
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    Source: Alburaij1948
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    Source: Alburaij1948
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    Source: Alburaij1948
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    Source: RassdNewsN
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    Source: RassdNewsN
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    Source: RassdNewsN
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    Source: RassdNewsN
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    Source: Sameh Al Batran
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    Source: Abo Salem Al Masri
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    Source: Alburaij1948
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    Source: Yasser Hassan Washah
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    Source: Al Jazeera News
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    Source: @QudsNen
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    Source: @QudsNen
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    Source: @QudsNen
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    Source: @QudsNen
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Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention Block 4 (كتلة 4) in the centre of Bureij (البريج). Analysing audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed the location down to the following exact coordinates: 31.440652, 34.402793.

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  • Imagery:
    @IRIMFA_SPOX

Israeli Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    29
  • (11–14 children7–9 women6–7 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 (64) [ collapse]