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In the early morning hours of today (Palestine time), the Israeli occupying forces launched yet another raid and attack against the Rafah area in the Gaza Strip. Yesterday, hundreds of Israeli troops besieged the neighbourhood of Tel El-Sultan, isolating it prior to the deliberate and massive military assault that carried out today against that neighbourhood using tanks, bulldozers and helicopter gunships. The occupying forces carried out house-to-house raids, terrorizing the civilian population and using excessive and indiscriminate force against them. In one of the attacks carried out, the occupying forces fired missiles at an area next to the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, killing six Palestinian men who were leaving from morning prayers. Following the missile strike, it was reported that fires broke out at the Mosque, which holds the largest library in Gaza.
In total, at least 18 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces thus far as a result of the attacks earlier today in Rafah. Those killed include a young sister and brother, Asma’ Mohammed Ali Al-Meghyar, aged 16, and Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Meghyar, aged 14, who were on the roof of their family home hanging laundry, as well as a father and his son, Ismail Ibrahim Al-Balaawi, aged 45, and Ibrahim Ismail Al-Balaawi, aged 18. Dozens of other Palestinian civilians have been wounded and the hospital in the area has been unable to adequately provide emergency care for the number of casualties. It has also been reported that several ambulances attempting to rescue the wounded have come under Israeli sniper fire. In addition, the occupying forces demolished another three homes in Rafah today as hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including women, children and the elderly, continued to flee the area, terrified of further demolitions and attacks as repeatedly threatened by several Israeli officials.
We once again call upon the international community, including the United Nations Security Council, to uphold its obligations and take urgent action to address this escalating crisis. We anticipate that the Council will respond positively to the request made by the Arab Group in this regard. The Palestinian leadership reiterates its plea to the international community to intervene to avert more death, destruction and suffering from being inflicted by Israel, the occupying Power, on the Palestinian people. The international community cannot continue to stand idly by while defenseless women, children and men continue to be killed, wounded and maimed and lives continue to be destroyed as Israel continues its blatant and flagrant violations and grave breaches of international law, including the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.
The present letter is in follow-up to our previous 190 letters to you regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 28 September 2000. These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 17 May 2004 (A/ES-10/267-S/2004/394) constitute a basic record of the crimes committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Palestinian people since September 2000. For all of the war crimes, State terrorism and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
Accordingly, in follow-up to the above-mentioned letters, it is my profound regret to inform you that, since my letter to you of yesterday (A/ES-10/267-S/2004/394), at least 20 Palestinians, including children, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces, raising the total number of martyrs killed since September 2000 to 3,004 Palestinians. (The names of the martyrs that have been identified are contained in the annex to the present letter.)
I would be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of this 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.
2. Mohammed Abdelrahman Al-Nawajheh
3. Mohammed Khalil Al-Jindi
4. Walid Moussa Abu Jazar
5. Hani Mohammed Qifeh
6. Tarek Ahmed Sheikh Eid (18 years old)
7. Ibrahim Ismail Al-Balaawi (18 years old)
8. Ismail Ibrahim Al-Balaawi
9. Mohammed Jasser Al-Shaer
10. Ahmed Jasser Al-Shaer (18 years old)
11. Ziad Hussein Shyaneh
12. Mahmoud Ismail Abu Touq
13. Imad Mohammed Al-Meghyar
14. Said Ibrahim Al-Meghyar
15. Yussef Zahi Qahoush
16. Mohammed Zu’areb
17. Asma’ Mohammed Ali Al-Meghyar (16 years old)
18. Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Meghyar (14 years old)
19. Nidal Abdelrahman Okasheh
20. Mohammed Ahmed Obeid
* The total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 is 3,004.