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Today, shortly after midnight (Gaza time), Israeli tanks entered the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, which is home to about 80,000 Palestinians. As reported by the Israeli military itself, this was the largest Israeli force to enter an area under full Palestinian control since the start of its military campaign in September 2000. Inside the camp, the Israeli occupying forces fired live ammunition and used bulldozers to destroy homes and raze olive groves. The Israeli attack, which lasted for nearly five hours, took place in complete darkness, as power to the camp was completely knocked out, and caused intense panic and fear among the Palestinian residents of the camp. As a result of this vicious assault, which endangered the lives of thousands of civilians, two Palestinians were killed and approximately 25 homes were completely levelled, with a dozen other homes suffering damage as well. Moreover, one of the homes destroyed collapsed on its occupants, including children.
These violent and criminal acts follow attacks carried out yesterday by the Israeli occupying forces, which used rockets and missiles to shell Palestinian security buildings in the Gaza Strip. The attacks, which were carried out during the day, targeted three different Palestinian locations and resulted in the death of a 30 year-old Palestinian doctor in the naval police, many injuries and severe structural damage.
In follow-up to my previous letters to you on the grave and continuing deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, dated from 29 September 2000 to 5 April 2001 (A/55/432-S/2000/921; A/55/437-S/2000/930; A/55/450-S/2000/957; A/55/466-S/2000/971; A/55/474-S/2000/984; A/55/490-S/2000/993; A/ES-10/39-S/2000/1015; A/ES-10/40-S/2000/1025; A/ES-10/42-S/2000/1068; A/ES-10/43-S/2000/1078; A/ES-10/44-S/2000/1093; A/ES-10/45-S/2000/1104; A/ES-10/46-S/2000/1107; A/ES-10/47-S/2000/1116; A/ES-10/48-S/2000/1129; A/ES-10/49-S/2000/1154; A/ES-10/50-S/2000/1173; A/ES-10/51-S/2000/1185; A/ES-10/52-S/2000/1215; A/ES-10/53-S/2000/1247; A/ES-10/54-S/2001/7; A/ES-10/55-S/2001/33; A/ES/10/56-S/2001/50, A/ES-10/57-S/2001/101; A/ES-10/58-S/2001/131; A/ES-10/59-S/2001/156; A/ES-10/60-S/2001/175; A/ES-10/61-S/2001/189; A/ES-10/64-S/2001/209; A/ES-10/65-S/2001/226; A/ES-10/66-S/2001/239; A/ES-10/67-S/2001/255; A/ES-10/68-S/2001/284; A/ES-10/69-S/2001/295; A/ES-10/70-S/2001/304; A/ES-10/71-S/2001/314 and A/ES-10/72-S/2001/332), it is my deep regret to inform you that since my last letter to you even more Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces (the names of the martyrs are contained in the annex to the present letter). This brings the total number of Palestinian martyrs since 28 September 2000 to 408 people. Moreover, as mentioned above, dozens more Palestinian civilians have suffered injuries, many severely, as a result of the violent actions and attacks carried out by the Israeli occupying forces.
The escalation of the bloody Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people must be brought to end before more lives are lost and greater destruction is caused. The international community, and the Security Council in particular, is duty-bound to take action in this regard in order to provide urgently needed stability in the area and protection for the Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation. The continuing failure to do so will only send the wrong message to the Israeli Government, allowing it to persist in the escalation of its military campaign against the Palestinian people.
I would be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter and its annex distributed as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.
Saturday, 7 April 2001
1. Mahmoud Fayyad Al-Herizat
Sunday, 8 April 2001
1. Tayseer Thiab Ayyad
Tuesday, 10 April 2001
1. Wa’el Khowayter
Wednesday, 11 April 2001
1. Mo’taz Mohammed Soboh (18 years old) (died from wounds sustained on 5 April 2001)
2. Hani Abu Rizq
3. Elias Eid
4. Mahmoud Khalil Barakat (15 years old)
* Total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 = 408.