News & Investigations

News & Investigations

Published

December 9, 2021

Written by

Airwars Staff

Population density is greatest driver of civilian casualties from strikes in Gaza, Israel and Syria, new study shows.

In just eleven days in May 2021, Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza killed up to 10 times more civilians than the country’s eight-year bombing campaign against Iranian-linked forces in Syria, new Airwars research has found. The study raises critical concerns about the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The report – ‘Why did they bomb us?’ Urban civilian harm in Gaza, Syria and Israel from explosive weapons use’ – comprehensively documents the civilian toll of recent Israeli actions in Gaza and Syria, as well as from Palestinian rocket fire into Israel during May. Published jointly in Arabic, Hebrew and English, the 16,000 word report employs Airwars’ standard methodology to examine how, when, and where civilians are killed in urban conflicts.

The report chronicles civilian casualties from two very different military campaigns by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Among the report’s key findings are:

    Across the three conflict areas, both the targeting approach and the population density of those areas bombed were critical drivers of civilian harm, leading to profoundly different outcomes for civilians. In Gaza between 151 and 192 civilians were likely killed as a result of IDF actions in May 2021, mostly in densely populated areas. At least a third of those killed were children. Between 15 and 20 civilian deaths in Gaza were additionally likely to have resulted from Palestinian misfires. 10 civilians were directly killed in Israel in May 2021 resulting from Palestinian militant actions – with most casualties occurring when rockets penetrated Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ defence system and reached cities and towns. In Syria, an extensive IDF air campaign since 2013 has had a far smaller impact on civilians. Israeli strikes have likely killed at least 14 and up to 40 Syrian civilians, with attacks mostly focused on exclusively military targets, away from population centres. Airwars has produced an interactive map showing its findings for Gaza, which can be viewed here. The map allows users to navigate through 128 individual assessments of civilian harm in Gaza, and provides a lasting testimony to the civilian victims of the conflict.

 

Israel’s longtime rival Iran has been active within near neighbour Syria since civil war erupted a decade ago, with Tehran helping to prop up President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Beginning in January 2013, Israel has periodically carried out attacks within Syria to counter Iranian entrenchment. Strikes have targeted Iranian and Syrian troops, as well as militias from multiple countries aligned with Tehran.

Airwars has tracked Israeli strikes in Syria for several years as part of its long running monitoring of actions there by all foreign actors. It has now published interactive mapping of all locally reported allegations against Israel in Syria. It’s believed to be the first comprehensive assessment of the civilian toll of an extensive but secretive air campaign.

Airwars researchers also recorded civilian harm from Israeli military strikes during the May 2021 eruption of violence in Gaza, alongside harm caused by rockets fired into Israel by Palestinian militants.

An image from Airwars’ interactive map of civilian harm in Gaza

Choice of targets

Since 2008 Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fought four major combat operations. Airwars researchers looked at the latest conflict in May 2021 in order to provide comparative data with the more limited civilian harm events being reported from Israeli strikes in Syria.

After compiling all community-reported civilian harm events in the conflicts in Syria and Gaza, Airwars researchers found that one of the critical explainers behind the dramatically different outcomes for civilians was where the IDF chooses to bomb.

According to local reports, the great majority of Israeli actions in Syria have targeted military assets such as air bases, troop convoys and weapons stores, away from major cities and towns. Hundreds of militants were killed in these operations, for the most part in military settings.

In Gaza, the picture was very different. Strikes routinely hit residential neighbourhoods, and militants were frequently targeted in non-military settings: Airwars identified 17 locally reported incidents in which militants were targeted in residential buildings and in which civilians were killed or injured nearby. In those incidents, local reports found that between 27 and 33 civilians were killed, with more than 100 injured. One third of those killed in the Gaza Strip were children.

Airwars also identified between 56 and 68 civilians killed when the IDF targeted what they said was a Hamas militant tunnel network beneath heavily populated areas in Gaza City, leading the buildings above to collapse. Most of the deaths came from a single incident: in the early morning of May 16th, at least 41 civilians were killed in strikes on the residential al-Wahda street, of which up to 18 were children.

Riyad Ishkontana, 42, lost his wife and four of his children in the al-Wahda street attack. He had spent the days leading up to the bombing reassuring the young family they were safe: their building was in an area of professionals and shops, he told them. But in the early hours of the morning, as Ishkontana was out getting snacks, the building was hit. Only one of his children survived. “I wish I never left,” he told The New York Times.

Population density mapping

Airwars also mapped all civilian harm allegations in Gaza, Syria and Israel against population density, and found a second clear driver of civilian harm: the more heavily populated an area, the more civilians were killed.

Airwars’s new landing page comparing Israeli actions in Syria and Gaza

In Gaza, one of the most heavily populated places in the world, more than 1,500 declared Israeli air and artillery strikes hit the territory in just 11 days. This dramatically increased the likelihood of civilian harm. Even within Gaza, there was a clear trend – the more heavily populated a neighbourhood, the more civilians died there.

The trend was also noticeable in Syria. While the scale of civilian harm from IDF strikes was much lower than in Gaza, it is still overwhelmingly located in heavily populated areas. Around 45 percent of estimated civilian casualties from Israeli strikes since 2013 occurred in the capital Damascus. In Israel, 17 of the 33 reported civilian harm incidents resulting from Palestinian rockets also took place in more densely populated areas, Airwars found.

Population density in Gaza may have given some a false sense of security. On May 12th in Gaza, airstrikes killed Reema Saad, who was four months pregnant, alongside her two children and husband. The family had decided to stay in their apartment because they believed the densely populated neighbourhood would be immune from targeting, Reema’s mother Samia told Middle East Eye.

Airwars mapping of population density and reported civilian harm for Gaza, May 2021

Urban deaths part of a global trend

The new findings support what Airwars has found across all conflicts it monitors: that using wide area effect explosive weapons in populated urban areas leads to high levels of civilian deaths and injuries.

This phenomenon is certainly not restricted to actions by the IDF, or by Palestinian militant groups. Indeed, the Gaza campaign in particular can be seen as part of a profoundly worrying trend in which nations and others conduct intensive military actions in urban areas, often with devastating results.

High civilian casualties in Gaza are symptomatic of an escalating and troubling global military trend in the use of wide area effect weapons in populated areas (sometimes known as EWIPA) – seen from Gaza to Mosul, Aleppo to Raqqa, and Tripoli to Kabul. These latest findings lend further urgency to an ongoing international push to restrict their use in a United Nations-brokered Political Declaration by nations, expected to be finalised in early 2022.

“Our latest study corroborates what we have found with other large scale conflicts in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere: even technologically advanced militaries kill large numbers of civilians when attacks focus on urban centres,” Chris Woods, director at Airwars, said. “Despite repeated assurances to the contrary, it’s clear that ‘precision warfare’ cannot sufficiently mitigate civilian harm.”

“Stark differences in civilian deaths and injuries from Israeli actions in Syria and in the Gaza Strip clearly illustrate that the most significant driver of civilian harm remains the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The single most effective way to reduce the number of civilians dying in warfare would be to restrict the use of such dangerous wide area effect weapons on urban centres.”

How the new research was carried out

The Airwars report is the result of months of meticulous research carried out by a team of local language researchers, geolocators and specialist assessors.

Thousands of local media, social media and official sources documenting civilian harm as it happened were identified and archived by Airwars’ team of Arabic-, Hebrew- and English-language researchers in relation to the May 2021 conflict in Gaza and Israel. Researchers also continue to monitor and archive all civilian harm allegations in Syria resulting from Israeli strikes since 2013.

Airwars has then assessed the civilian harm from each incident in Gaza, Syria and Israel using the same standard methodology it applies across all conflicts it monitors. Its approach can best be described as remote, original language hyperlocal monitoring of casualty claims by affected communities – along with a review of broader reports and claims by belligerents, media and other investigators. All assessments are viewed as provisional – that is, any credible new information relating to an event will be subsequently added, potentially affecting our understanding of the incident.

Full resource list

The full report available in English, Hebrew and Arabic

Interactive mapping of civilian harm in Gaza

Video documenting key findings

Full dataset for civilian harm from Israeli strikes in Gaza and Syria

Full dataset for civilian harm from Palestinian rocket fire in Israel

▲ A child uses his mobile device in the ruins of a building in Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip on May 26th 2021. © Mohamed Zaanoun

צבא ישראלי בסוריה וברצועת עזה

Published

July 1, 2021

Written by

Airwars Staff

Coalition of civil society organisations issues joint recommendations to Defence Minister, for improvements to Dutch policy on transparency and civilian harm mitigation

Airwars and our Dutch partners, who are involved in ongoing discussions with the Dutch military on practicable improvements in the protection of civilians, have published a Joint Statement outlining the progress so far, and our collective hopes and expectations moving forward.

In October 2019, it was revealed that the Dutch military had been responsible for a 2015 airstrike in Iraq on an ISIS IED factory, leading to the deaths of at least 70 civilians and hundreds more being injured. The Government had then withheld that fact from the public for more than four years.

As PAX and Airwars later noted in our joint report, Seeing Through The Rubble,  estimates are that the secondary explosions triggered by the Dutch airstrike damaged between 400 and 500 buildings in the area, including many shops, homes and schools. Sources also reported that the airstrike caused major damage to crucial infrastructure, including roads and water pipelines. Six different sources, including Hawijah’s mayor, were interviewed for the report on the recent state of the city after the devastating Dutch airstrike.

As a result of the national scandal and numerous Parliamentary debates on the issue, in June 2020 the Dutch Minister of Defence, Ank Bijleveld, promised to Parliament improvements towards transparency and accountability regarding civilian harm as a result of Dutch military actions. Coupled with other steps taken in the months after the Hawijah scandal, the Netherlands appeared to be shedding its reputation as one of the least transparent members of the international Coalition fighting so-called Islamic State.

One measure adopted by Defensie had recently been proposed by Airwars, Amnesty Netherlands, the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Open State Foundation, PAX and the Utrecht University Intimacies of Remote Warfare Program. This called for a “Roadmap for the Ministry of Defence to review the way in which the Netherlands deals with, reports on, evaluates and accounts for civilian harm as a consequence of Dutch military efforts”.

The starting session of the Roadmap Process took place virtually on November 12th 2020, attended by senior Dutch defence officials, including the Deputy Chief of Defence Lt General Onno. In 2021, a consortium of civil society organisations then participated in four interactive sessions with the MoD. The key objective of these sessions was to share joint perspectives and expertise on how to enhance military transparency and accountability, while also creating conditions for a stronger integration of civilian harm evaluation and mitigation approaches into Dutch military deployments.

MoD staff have committed to using the outcomes of these sessions to inform policy recommendations to be presented to the Minister of Defence. The recommendations centred around improving transparency, as well as aiming to improve broader Dutch policy and practice in order to achieve better protection of civilians in future military deployments generally.

The civil society consortium has welcomed the open manner in which Defensie has engaged during the “Roadmap“ process, and has now issued a joint statement laying out our own thoughts on the way forward for the Dutch Ministry of Defence. The statement includes recommendations to the Minister of Defence for improvements to Dutch policy on transparency and civilian harm mitigation when engaging in military missions.

Read the statement in full here

Incident Code

ISPT123

Incident date

May 20, 2021

Location

منزل عائلة اسليم بحي الصبرة, House for the Aslaim family in the Al-Sabra neighborhood, The Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.506017, 34.450531 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

As many as seven civilians, including five children, were reported injured in an alleged Israeli airstrike on the Al-Sabra neighborhood of Gaza city, on May 20th 2021, according to local reports.

Al Haq reported, at approximately 6:00 am Israeli aircraft targeted the fifth-floor apartment of Hazem Muhammad Antar Aslam (spelled Asleem and Saleem in other sources) and the bombing reportedly wounded four sleeping children. According to the source, the building located close to the Abdullah Azzam Mosque was owned by Hazem’s son. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights puts the number of children injured in the strike at five.

Amira Aslam, 14, spoke to Reuters from her hospital bed about the strike that caused parts of her house to collapse: “We were sitting on the sofa when a missile landed. There was heavy smoke and we couldn’t see anything.”

Al Haq reported that a ten-year-old girl, Farah Hazem Muhammad Aslam, had to have her leg amputated following the strike. Palestine Now reported that her foot was amputated. Al Watan said that the three children injured alongside her were her brothers.

Three people who were injured in the strike later arrived at the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, according to The Palestinian Information Center.

The incident occured at approximately 6:00 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

  • Farah Hazem Muhammad Aslam 10 years old female Farah's leg or foot was amputated following the incident according to the sources. injured
  • Amira Aslam 14 years old female injured
  • Brother of Farah Hazem Muhammad Aslam Age unknown male injured
  • Brother of Farah Hazem Muhammad Aslam Age unknown male injured
  • Brother of Farah Hazem Muhammad Aslam Age unknown male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–7
  • 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 (37) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Tweet via @NesmaJa97

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck in the vicinity of Abdullah Azzam Mosque (مسجد عبد الله عزام), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.506017, 34.450531. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    5–7
  • 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 (37) [ collapse]

Incident Code

ISPT129

Incident date

May 20, 2021

Location

بيت المغير, رفح, Al Mughayir House, Rafah, The Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.287340, 34.251972 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Between three and six people were reportedly injured as a result of alleged Israeli airstrikes on a house said to belong to Al-Mughayer family in Shaboura refugee camp, Rafah, Gaza on May 20 2021.

A tweet from @AqsaTVChannel put the number of injuries at three while Palestinian Refugees Portal reported that six casualties were rescued from the rubble of the house after the strikes. @SafaPs added that ambulance crews transported two injuries for medical treatment following the incident.

Images were posted online after the incident showing the almost complete destruction of a house. One source reported that the house was hit in a two stage attack (@Nada03978943) and @Alaqsavoice_Brk reported that three missiles hit the house.

No further details about the casualties are presently known.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–6
  • 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 (33) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (19) [ collapse]

  • Photo taken after alleged Israeli shelling on a house in Shaboura camp, Rafah, Gaza May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @qudsn.
  • A house destroyed in Shaboura camp, Rafah, Gaza, allegedly as a result of Israeli airstrikes May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @qudsn.
  • Image showing the destruction caused by an alleged Israeli airstrike on a house in Shaboura camp, Rafah, Gaza. Image posted on Twitter by @qudsn.
  • Image taken from above of a house in Shaboura, Gaza, reported to have been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @Alaqsavoice_Brk
  • People stand in the rubble of a house reportedly destroyed by an Israeli airstrike May 20 2021 in Shaboura, Gaza. Image posted on Twitter by @Alaqsavoice_Brk.
  • People look through the rubble of a house reportedly destroyed in an Israeli airstrike May 20 2021 in Shaboura, Gaza. Image posted on Twitter by @Alaqsavoice_Brik.
  • Household items shown within the rubble of a house reportedly destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Shaboura, Gaza May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @Alaqsavoice_Brik.
  • Video captured by Safa Press Agency reporting to show an Israeli airstrike on Shaboura, Gaza May 20 2021.
  • Smoke rises over a residential neighbourhood reported to be Shaboura, Gaza, allegedly hit by an Israeli airstrike May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @Fad6k.
  • A house destroyed by an alleged Israeli airstrike May 20 2021 in Shaboura, Gaza. Image posted on Twitter by Ehabhelou.
  • Items reportedly from the home of the Al-Mughayer family, destroyed by an alleged Israeli airstrike May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @bnt_alkatayib.
  • Destruction caused by alleged Israeli airstrikes in Shaboura, Gaza May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @Motazpress.
  • Video posted by the Palestinian Information Centre, alleging to show an Israeli airstrike in Shaboura refugee camp, May 20 2021.
  • Image showing the house reported to have been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @LebUpdate.
  • Video reporting to show smoke rising from Shaboura, Rafa, Gaza on May 20 2021 after alleged Israeli airstrikes hit the neighbourhood. Video posted on Twitter by Friends of Palestine.
  • Image showing the area destroyed by an alleged Israeli airstrike in Shaboura, Gaza, May 20 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @Nada03978943.
  • Israeli warplanes destroyed a house for the Al-Mughayer family in the Shaboura refugee camp, in the center of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck within the vicinity of Shaboura (الشابورة) camp in Rafah (رفح). Analyzing audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed down the location to these exact coordinates: 31.287340, 34.251972.

  • Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck within the vicinity of Shaboura (الشابورة) camp in Rafah (رفح).

    Imagery:
    soar.earth

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @Alaqsavoice_Brk

  • Panoramic stitch of visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @paltimes2015

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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–6
  • 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 (33) [ collapse]

Incident Code

ISPT130

Incident date

May 20, 2021

Location

حي معان ,خان يونس, Ma’an neighborhood, Khan Younis, The Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.330061, 34.316744 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Between three and four civilians, including two children, were injured when an unexploded missile landed in a home east of Ma’an on May 20, 2021.

According to Al Mezan, Israeli missiles struck the home of brothers Muhammad and Munis Muhareb, in the customs police area east of Ma’an. However, the missile did not explode and also penetrated the nearby house of Ramzi Abu Hadid and injured three civilians, including two children.

Pal times put the number of injuries from the unexploded missile in Ma’an at four wounded and @yahyanawazv identified the injuries as shrapnel wounds.

A tweet from @Abuabraa2110198 added that a large number of women and children (20 people according to @yahyanawazv) that were in the Muhareb family home escaped a certain death that would’ve occurred if the missile had exploded.

@waed_2002 reported that explosives engineering teams arrived after the strikes to safely remove the unexploded missile, which weighed one ton according to @AzimShahsaab.

All of the sources attributed the unexploded missile to Israel.

The incident occured at approximately 12:10 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–4
  • 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 (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (11) [ collapse]

  • An unexploded Israeli missile landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @RealEmanAyad)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @PalinfoAr)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @PalinfoAr)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @PalinfoAr)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @gGY33TX9eprjsHt)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @gGY33TX9eprjsHt)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @gGY33TX9eprjsHt)
  • Many people escaped certain death when an unexploded Israeli missile landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @Abuabraa2110198)
  • Damage caused by an unexploded Israeli missile which landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @yahyanawazv)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @1MahmoudAbdel)
  • Crews work to remove the unexploded Israeli missile that landed in the home of Muhammad and Munis Muhareb east of Ma’an area on May 20, 2021. (Image posted by @1MahmoudAbdel)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Ma’an (معن) neighborhood of Khan Younis (خان يونس), for which the generic coordinates are: 31.330061, 34.316744. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Ma’an (معن) neighborhood of Khan Younis (خان يونس).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–4
  • 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 (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

ISPT124

Incident date

May 20, 2021

Location

عمارة الرائد, Al Raed building, The Gaza Strip

Geolocation

31.523521, 34.455308 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 seven civilians including a baby were injured, one seriously, in a strike on an apartment building in the al-Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City in the afternoon of May 20, 2021.

Various sources report an airstrike hitting the al-Raed building, which was a mixed-use residential and commercial building, destroying the apartment and ground-floor shops, including a toy shop.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported that the damage had been caused by two missiles. The al-Raed building is located in the affluent al-Rimal neighbourhood, close to the Palestine Mosque and the national stadium.

Sources report that between four and seven civilians were injured in the strikes, with news outlet Palinfo noting that an entire family, including children, had been injured in the strike.

Israel has not explicitly acknowledged responsibility for the strike or for the civilian harm caused. However, in a statement made by the IDF on 20 May 2021, it published an infographic depicting strikes carried out that day, which includes various strikes in the vicinity of the al-Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City.

The incident occured at approximately 1:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–7
  • 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 (35) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (23) [ collapse]

  • Image showing distressed woman holding baby. A baby was reported injured in the May 20th, 2021 strike in Al Rimal neighbourhood (image via @Tmimi_97)
  • Image captions indicates the image shows damage to the Al-Raed building in the al-Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City on May 20th, 2021 (image via @S88Ashi)
  • Image reportedly shows damage to the Al-Raed building in Al-Rimal neighbourhood. An airstrike hit the building on May 20th, 2021 leading to several injuries (image via @S88Ashi)
  • The Al-Raed building was hit by an alleged Israeli airstrike on May 20th, 2021. Several injuries were reported (image via @S88Ashi)
  • Image captions indicates it shows damage to the Al-Raed building in the al-Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City on May 20th, 2021 (image via @S88Ashi)
  • Translated image caption: Al-Raed building that was targeted by the occupation in Gaza City (image via @plespost)
  • Translated image caption: Al-Raed building that was targeted by the occupation in Gaza City (image via @plespost)
  • Image caption indicates the image shows the damage to the Al-Raed building. The building was hit by an alleged Israeli airstrike hit on May 20th, 2021. Up to seven civilians were reportedly injured (image via @plespost)
  • Several civilians were injured after an airstrike was reported to have hit Al-Raed building on May 20th, 2021 (image via @plespost)
  • Translated caption reads: #Photos.. of injuries and raids that recently hit separate areas of Gaza, including the Al-Raed building in Gaza City and a house in Rafah (image via @alqudsnewspaper)
  • Translated caption reads: #Photos.. of injuries and raids that recently hit separate areas of Gaza, including the Al-Raed building in Gaza City and a house in Rafah (image via @alqudsnewspaper)
  • The image appears to show a paramedic looking after a baby. A baby was reportedly among the injured in a strike on a building in Al-Rimal neighbourhood on May 20th, 2021 (image via @alqudsnewspaper)
  • Image shared online alongside photos of another incident. It is unclear if this image comes from the Al-Rimal neighbourhood strike on May 20th, 2021 (image via @alqudsnewspaper)
  • Translated image caption: An entire family was injured by various wounds due to the Israeli bombing of a residential apartment in the centre of Gaza City (via @PalinfoAr)
  • Up to seven civilians were reportedly injured, including a baby, in an alleged Israeli airstrike on May 20th, 2021 (via @PalinfoAr)
  • Up to seven civilians were reportedly injured in a strike on a building in Gaza's Al-Rimal neighbourhood. Caption on this image indicates that this is one of the injured civilians (image via @PalinfoAr)
  • Medical staff give treatment to a baby. A baby was reportedly injured in an alleged Israeli airstrike on May 20th, 2021 in Gaza's Al-Rimal neighbourhood (image via @PalinfoAr)
  • A video of the Al-Raed building in Gaza, which was subjected to an Israeli bombardment, causing great damage and wounding a number of citizens
  • Al-Raed building in Gaza, which was subjected to an Israeli terrorist bombing, causing great damage and wounding a number of citizens lsrael is a terrorist state #GazaUnderAttak #savesheikhjarrahً

Geolocation notes (4) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Al Raed Building (عمارة الرائد) being struck in the Rimal (حي الرمال) neighbourhood of Gaza (غَزَّة). Analyzing visual material from sources, we have narrowed down the location to these exact coordinates: 31.523521, 34.455308

  • Reports of the incident mention the Al Raed Building (عمارة الرائد) being struck in the Rimal (حي الرمال) neighbourhood of Gaza (غَزَّة).

    Imagery:
    Planet

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @plespost

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @Boomdotnews

  • Tagged visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    @ibrahimalwadia

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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–7
  • 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 (35) [ collapse]