Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISPT092

Incident date

May 17, 2021

Location

بناية غازي الشوا, Ghazi Al Shawa building, the Gaza Strip

Airwars assessment

Two civilians, including a ten-year old girl, were killed and seven other civilians were injured by shrapnel from an Israeli airstrike on a building in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City during the early evening of 17th May, 2021.

Ziyad Kamal Abdullah Abu Dayer, aged 45 or 55, was killed in the strike, along with his niece, Rafif Morshid Kamal Abu Dayer, aged 10. They were eating a meal with relatives in a private residential garden beside the Ghazi al-Shawa building when the strike took place, between 5.45 and 6.45 p.m. in the evening.

In addition, 10 or more other civilians were reportedly wounded, including Rafif’s two brothers, other members of the Dayer family, and Health Ministry employees. Incident ISPT097, which occurred close by and involved the Health Ministry and clinic, records the health employees injured (2 two workers from the Ministry of Health and Dr Majed Salha from the Al-Rimal clinic), putting the injury toll in this incident at 7 civilians injured.

B’Tselem provided testimony from Muhammad Abu Dayer, 16, Ziad’s son: “At 3:15 P.M., I went back to my uncle’s house. We arranged mattresses on the balcony to sit and eat. My father sat on a chair, reading the Quran on his phone. My uncle’s daughter Rafif, was sitting next to him drawing. I sat with the rest of the family – my mother, my uncle, his wife and their eight sons – on the mattresses. Suddenly, we heard something whistle through the air. Then there was smoke and dust, and bits of debris and stones rained down on us. I got up to look for everyone. I put a hand on the door and discovered it had no handle. The water tanks had been damaged, and the water leaking from them helped clear the smoke and dust. It also put out the fire that had started burning in the mattresses and sofas. Only then did I start seeing what was happening around me. I saw everyone wounded and bleeding. I looked for my father and found him on the sofa, wounded in the head. Part of his head had fallen to the floor. When I saw that, I screamed in horror. I was in shock. It was the first time I’d seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anyone injured or killed. I went out to al-Wehdah Street. My cousins Ziad, 18, and Muhammad, 21, came out after me. They were looking for an ambulance. A few minutes later, ambulances arrived. They took away my cousin Rafif, who’d been hit in the head and neck and killed. Then they put my father in the ambulance. He was dead. I went with them to the hospital. I was examined and they found I was injured in my shoulder and left toe. The rest of my family were examined, too. That evening, at 8:00 P.M., we buried my father. Then we went to my uncle Khaled’s house in the a-Sabra neighborhood, because it’s no longer possible to live at my uncle Murshed’s house.It was a hard, sad day. My father is dead and I’m alone. I lost the person who was dearest to me. He was afraid something would happen to me in the airstrikes and that I’d be killed, but in the end, it happened to him. I still can’t believe it happened and don’t want to believe it. I feel like I’m living in a nightmare. I’m still young and already an orphan. I lost my father, who was my whole world and gave me hope in this world. He meant everything to me.”

Images taken by Getty Images show at three children, a woman, and a man receiving medical treatment at Al Shifa Hospital following the strikes.

The New York Times reported that Rafif loved to draw and that “she had sketched one of the high-rise buildings that an Israeli airstrike destroyed in Gaza City two days earlier and had started to color in her drawing when her mother called her for lunch. “You can go back to drawing after you eat,” her mother said. The girl sat down for lunch with 13 relatives in a private residential garden. Minutes later, Israel attacked a building nearby, an uncle said. Shrapnel and rubble struck Rafeef. She and another uncle were killed.”

The Electronic Intifada gave details that Ziad Abu Dayer and his family had actually taken shelter at the Al Hawa building that day because the family’s own home had been razed during the previous day’s bombing. “We thought it would be a safe place to hide,” said Ziad’s son Kamel, 16. Kamel had just checked to see if his father wished to eat something before the bombing occurred. Ziad was reading the Quran and wanted to continue doing so. “The bombing started a few minutes later,” said Kamel. “Black smoke quickly spread all around the place. We couldn’t see anything. I eventually found my father lying on the ground.” Kamel, who was injured in the arm, accompanied his father as he was rushed to hospital by ambulance. The ambulance took longer than it should have to arrive because Israel had severely damaged the adjoining road, ambulance drivers encountered difficulties traveling to and from the hospital.

In an interview with @AlMamlakaTV, the son of Ziyad and cousin of Rafif said that “I still have my father’s blood on the ground”, recounting the aftermath of the strike that caused injuries to so many members of his family.

The top three storeys of the al-Shawa building were destroyed in the strike. The building is mixed-use residential and commercial, housing organisations including the American Children’s Relief Foundation, the Qatar Red Crescent and the Islamic National Bank headquarters, along with private medical practices.

Qatar’s foreign minister released the statement that “The State of Qatar expresses its strong condemnation of the Israeli occupation’s bombing of the Qatari Red Crescent Society building in the besieged Gaza Strip, which resulted in several deaths and injuries,” the statement said.

The Al-Remal medical clinic nearby was also severely damaged in the strike, rendering inoperable Gaza’s only Covid-19 testing site, according to the New York Times. Other nearby buildings damaged in the strike include the Gaza Ministry of Health, an orphanage and the Palestine Feminist Foundation.

The Danish Refugee Council confirmed that they had been working with Rafif as part of their psycho-social support programme for children experiencing conflict trauma.

The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs commented that the bombing of the Shawa building and its impact on civilians and essential infrastructure “raises serious concerns over a possible indiscriminate and disproportionate attack under international humanitarian law.”

The IDF released a statement at 18:59 that “Fighter jets recently attacked the main Hamas of the Hamas terrorist organization’s internal security organization in the Rimal neighborhood, in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Anadolu Agency pointed out that the strikes occurred without warning.

The incident occured between 5:45 pm and 6:45 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Ziyad Kamal Abdullah Abu Dayer Adult male He was aged between 45 and 55 killed
  • Rafif Morshid Kamal Abu Dayer 10 years old female killed
  • Kamal, Ziyad's son 16 years old male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • 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.
  • Known attacker
    Israeli Military
  • Known target
    Palestinian Forces

Sources (78) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (37) [ collapse]

  • Translated image caption: The martyr Ziyad Abu Dayer was having lunch with his family. He and his niece were martyred 11 years old (image via @hlbvm_redwan)
  • Image shows the father of Rafif Abu Dayer clutching her body at the al Shifa hospital. Rafif Dayer was killed by shrapnel on May 17th, 2021 alongside her uncle (image via He.For.Me)
  • Image of Ziad Abu Dayer who was killed on May 17th, 2021 alongside his niece (image via a Facebook post by Zaki)
  • Image of buildings reportedly damaged in the May 17th, 2021 strike al Rimal neighbourhood. Two civilians were killed in the airstrike (image via AlshababRadio)
  • Image showing damage to area of an airstrike in a Gaza neighbourhood which killed two civilians on May 17th, 2021 (image via Paltoday)
  • Image shows area affected by airstrike in Al Rimal neighbourhood on May 17th, 2021. It hit the al-Shawa building which was mixed use residential and commercial (image via Paltoday)
  • Image shows the area affected by an airstrike in the al Rimal neighbourhood. Two civilians, including a ten-year old girl, were killed by shrapnel (image via Paltoday)
  • Image shows the Al-Remal medical clinic, which was severely damaged in a May 17th, 2021 strike. The damage rendered inoperable Gaza’s only Covid-19 testing site, according to the New York Times (image via Paltoday)
  • Image shows damage to building in the may 17th, 2021 strike in Gaza's al Rimal district (image via Sanad News Agency)
  • Image shows area of a May 17th, 2021 strike in Al Rimal neighbourhood. Shrapnel killed two civilians including a child (image via Sanad News Agency)
  • Image shows the Palestinian Health Ministry building which sustained damage in a May 17th, 2021 airstrike in Al Rimal neighbourhood (image via Sanad News Agency)
  • Image shows area of a May 17th, 2021 strike in Al Rimal neighbourhood. Shrapnel killed two civilians including a child (image via Sanad News Agency)
  • Image of damaged building from the May 17th, 2021 airstrike in Gaza's Al Rimal district. The strike targeted the al-Shawa building but caused damage to a number of others, including the Gaza Ministry of Health, the Al-Remal medical clinic and an orphanage. Two civilians were also killed. (image via Shehab)
  • Image of damaged building from the May 17th, 2021 airstrike in Gaza's Al Rimal district. The strike targeted the al-Shawa building but caused damage to a number of others, including the Gaza Ministry of Health, the Al-Remal medical clinic and an orphanage. Two civilians were also killed. (image via Shehab)
  • Image of adamaged building from the May 17th, 2021 airstrike in Gaza's Al Rimal district. The strike targeted the al-Shawa building. Two civilian were killed by shrapnel, including a child (image via Shehab)
  • Image of Ziyad Kamal Abdullah Abu Dayer who was killed alongside his niece on may 17th, 2021 (image via Shadi Press)
  • Image caption: People inspect the rubble of destroyed commercial building and Gaza health care clinic following an Israeli airstrike on the upper floors of a commercial building near the Health Ministry in Gaza City, on Monday, May 17th, 2021 (image via Associated Press)
  • Image caption: Medics inspect the rubble of Gaza health care clinic following an Israeli airstrike on the upper floors of a commercial building near the Health Ministry in Gaza City, on Monday, May 17, 2021 (image via Associated Press)
  • Image caption says that the image shows the body of 10-year-old Rafif Abu Dayer being carried. She was killed by shrapnel caused by an Israeli airstrike on May 17th, 2021 (image via @Just_T_0606)
  • Image shows young members of the Dayer crying at al Shifa hospital. Two family members were killed on May 17th, 2021 when a building was hit by an airstrike (image via Associated Press)
  • Members of the Abu Dayer family receive treatment following an airstrike that killed two of their family members. They were eating a meal in a private residential garden beside the Ghazi al-Shawa building, which was hit by an airstrike (image via Associated Press)
  • A member of the Abu Dayer family in hospital. The family were eating a meal in a private residential garden beside the Ghazi al-Shawa building when the building was hit by an airstrike on May 17th, 2021 (image via Associated Press)
  • Image caption: Members of the Palestinian Abu Dayer family receive treatment the Al-Shifa hospital after the death of family members in an Israeli air strike on the family's home in Gaza City on May 17th, 2021 (image via Associated Press)
  • Image caption: A member of the Abu Dayer family flashes the V-sign for victory as he receives first aid at the Al-Shifa hospital, after losing his father and cousin in an Israeli air strike on the family's home in Gaza City on May 17th, 2021 (via Associated Press)
  • Image shows a member of the Abu Dayer family receiving treatment at hospital after two family members were killed by shrapnel on May 17th, 2021 (image via Associated Press)
  • Image caption: A member of the Abu Dayer family, surrounded by relatives, cries at the Al-Shifa hospital after the death of his father and cousin in an Israeli air strike on the family's home in Gaza City on May 17, 2021 (image via Associated Press)
  • Photo of Rafif Morshid Kamal Abu Dayer. She was killed on May 17th, 2021 while eating dinner with her family (image via Defence for Children International - Palestine)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Image shows Rafif Abu Dayer who was killed by shrapnel from an airstrike on May 17th, 2021 (image via @kalthani)
  • Image caption: The family of Ziyad Abu Dayer ... gathered at the dining table and their Israeli missile teams, the family survived the death of the Abu al-Auf massacre on Al-Wehda Street a few days ago, so the army killed her in the sheltering place of her relatives (via @mostafa__mahdi)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • Video| Muhammad Ziyad Abu Dayer tells how his father, 54, and his niece, Rafif, 11, climbed up with an Israeli missile, which was fired next to their house.
  • The drawing Rafeef Abu Dayer, 10, was working on before she was killed.Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Al Ghazi Al Shawa building (بناية غازي الشوا) being struck. Analyzing audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed down the location to these exact coordinates: 31.51881700, 34.44981400.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Al Ghazi Al Shawa building (بناية غازي الشوا) being struck.

    Imagery:
    Planet

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    Paltoday

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    Shehab

Israeli Military Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

Israeli Military

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18:59 - Fighter jets recently attacked the main Hamas of the Hamas terrorist organization's internal security organization in the Rimal neighborhood, in the northern Gaza Strip.


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Media
from belligerent (2) [ collapse]

  • The Chief of Staff of the Internal Security of the Hamas terrorist organization, Rimal (Posted by the IDF)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • 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.
  • Known attacker
    Israeli Military
  • Known target
    Palestinian Forces

Sources (78) [ collapse]