Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISPT121

Incident date

May 19, 2021

Location

شارع البركة, Opposite Capital Mall, Deir Al Balah, The Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.515906, 34.448767 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Up to four people, including a pregnant woman, a disabled man and a child – likely members of the same family – and their neighbour, were reported killed by alleged Israeli airstrikes in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, at approximately 4pm on May 19th 2021.

Those killed were reported to be members of the Salha family: Amani Youssef Mahawesh, aged between 33-38, her husband, a disabled man, Iyad Salha, aged between 33-38, and their two or three year old daughter, Nagham Iyad. Some sources also mentioned another unidentified male killed in the strike.

Ms. Mahawesh was reportedly seven or eight months pregnant.

Quds Press report that “several others were wounded.”

Arab 48 News reported, “the [Salha] family was preparing for lunch before their death. The family’s living room was destroyed, and bloodstains and body parts mixed with their belongings. In the middle of the house, part of a small red bicycle remained among the burnt objects.”

It said, “the Israeli bombing of Deir al-Balah destroyed the wall of the house overlooking the sea shore from the western side, and directly hit the kitchen, in which a fire broke out that destroyed all its contents, and caused damage to the three rooms of the apartment.”

“When the house was bombed, Iyad’s brother, Omar, was sitting with his friends in a neighbour’s house.

“They were preparing for lunch,” he added, asking “What did my brother do? He is in a wheelchair. He thought he was safe at home.” He explained that his brother was unemployed and lived in one room in the family’s apartment with his mother and three of his brothers. He said, “he was suffering from brain atrophy, which led to his permanent movement disability.”

Arab 48 News reported that Mr. Salha’s mother, Umm Iyad, 58, was not at home when it was bombed, as she had left to go to her brother’s house in Deir al-Balah refugee camp, as it was “safer.” His mother said, “He was praying for calm. He died a martyr while waiting for a new baby.”

France 24 reported that “the Israeli army did not comment in particular on Wednesday’s strike on Deir al-Balah.” They also reported that, “it was not immediately clear whether Salha’s apartment was intentionally targeted by the Israeli army, or whether it was bombed by mistake.”

However, Israeli research organisation the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center reported that the rocket which “hit on a house on Al Barakah Street in Deir al-Balah. Apparently a failed launch. The matter is under investigation by the Palestinians.”

France 24 also reports that “Israel’s army has said it seeks to avoid “collateral damage” from strikes that are aimed at military targets. It has also repeatedly said that misfired rockets from Palestinian groups which have landed inside Gaza Strip could be responsible for civilian deaths in the enclave, although there was no immediate indication a Palestinian rocket caused the family’s death.”

Defence for Children International Palestine “continues to investigate whether the missile was fired by an Israeli warplane or a weaponised aerial drone.”

Quds News network reported that “local sources said Israeli jets struck a house without any warning.”

The incident occured at approximately 4:00 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Iyad Salha 33-35 years old male killed
  • Amani Youssef Mahawesh 33-38 years old female pregnant killed
  • Nagham Iyad Salha 2 years old female killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 4
  • (1 child1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Armed Forces

Sources (49) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (27) [ collapse]

  • 1 of 3: The scenes of the house where the Salha family lived, after allegedly being hit by an Israeli forces' airstrike, killing Iyad Salha, Amani Youssef Mahawesh and their two year old daughter, Nagham Iyad on May 19th 2021 (Activist Samar Alyazji / Facebook).
  • 1 of 2: The scenes of the house where the Salha family lived, after allegedly being hit by an Israeli forces' airstrike, killing Iyad Salha, Amani Youssef Mahawesh and their two year old daughter, Nagham Iyad on May 19th 2021 (Activist Samar Alyazji / Facebook).
  • 3 of 3: The scenes of the house where the Salha family lived, after allegedly being hit by an Israeli forces' airstrike, killing Iyad Salha, Amani Youssef Mahawesh and their two year old daughter, Nagham Iyad on May 19th 2021 (Activist Samar Alyazji / Facebook).
  • Nagham Iyad, aged 2, allegedly killed by an Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (Abdulrahman / Facebook).
  • Iyad Salha and his daughter Nagham Iyad, aged two years, who were both allegedly killed in an Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (Dayf / Facebook).
  • TRT News video: "his entire family was erased from the civil registry." (May 19th 2021 / Facebook)
  • The Salha family house, which was allegedly hit by an Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (@SalahAbuSalah16 / Twitter)
  • Iyad Salha, aged 33-25, allegedly killed in by an Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (@JumaasDana / Twitter).
  • Wreckage left by an alleged Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (@JumaasDana / Twitter).
  • The Salha family were allegedly killed when an Israeli forces' airstrike hit their house on May 19th 2021 (@JumaasDana / Twitter)
  • Iyad Salha with his daughter Nagham Iyad, aged 2, who were allegedly killed on May 19th 2021 when an Israeli forces' airstrike hit their house (@LinahAlsaafin / Twitter)
  • Picture of the destruction of Iyad Salha's house, who was allegedly killed by an Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (@7amza_AlHamza / Twitter).
  • 1 of 4: Relatives inspect the damage inside the Salha family home on May 19th 2021 (AFP)
  • The scene after the alleged Israeli forces' airstrike which killed the Salha family (May 19th 2021 / AFP)
  • 1 of 2: Victims of the airstrike of May 19th 2021, which allegedly killed the Salha family (Alarabiya / May 20th 2021)
  • 2 of 2: Victims of the airstrike of May 19th 2021, which allegedly killed the Salha family (Alarabiya / May 20th 2021)
  • "A man cries in a hospital in #Gaza after the martyrdom of his disabled brother, Iyad Salha, his pregnant wife and their daughter, as a result of an air strike from the Israeli occupation that was directed at their house." (Al Jazeera / May 20th 2021)
  • 2 of 4: Relatives inspect the damage inside the Salha family home on May 19th 2021 (AFP)
  • 3 of 4: Relatives inspect the damage inside the Salha family home on May 19th 2021 (AFP)
  • 4 of 4: Relatives inspect the damage inside the Salha family home on May 19th 2021 (AFP)
  • A disabled Palestinian youth, Iyad Salha, 33, was preparing for lunch, Wednesday, when a missile fired by an Israeli warplane hit his family home in Gaza, killing him, his pregnant wife and their three-year-old daughter. (Alarabiya / May 20th 2021).
  • 1 of 3: "A physically disabled father, a pregnant mother, a daughter, and a child. These four were among the bank of the occupation’s air force targets, and they were killed in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip." (@PalinfoAr / Twitter)
  • 2 of 3: "A physically disabled father, a pregnant mother, a daughter, and a child. These four were among the bank of the occupation’s air force targets, and they were killed in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip." (@PalinfoAr / Twitter)
  • 3 of 3: "A physically disabled father, a pregnant mother, a daughter, and a child. These four were among the bank of the occupation’s air force targets, and they were killed in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip." (@PalinfoAr / Twitter)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Nagham Iyad, aged 2, who was allegedly killed by an Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (@MohMhawesh / Twitter)
  • Iyad Salha and Nagham Iyad who were allegedly killed by an Israeli forces' airstrike on May 19th 2021 (@MohMhawesh / Twitter)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck in the town of Deir Al Balah (دير البلح). Analyzing audio-visual material we have narrowed down the location to an area that shows evidence of destruction opposite the Capital Mall building. The exact coordinates are: 31.515906, 34.448767.

  • Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck in the town of Deir Al Balah (دير البلح). Analyzing audio-visual material we have narrowed down the location to an area that shows evidence of destruction opposite the Capital Mall building.

    Imagery:
    Planet

Israeli Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Israeli Armed Forces
  • Israeli Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 4
  • (1 child1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Armed Forces

Sources (49) [ collapse]