IOF Kills Six Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Injures Hundreds, as the Great Return March Continues

Thursday, 09 August 2018 09:10 Reporting period: [27 July – 5 August 2018]

For the past 19 weeks, and as part of the Great Return March, which commenced on 30 March 2018, Palestinians have been exercising their right to peaceful assembly and protest against Israel’s unlawful closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, as well as demanding the realisation of their right to return to their homes, as mandated by international law and reaffirmed in over a hundred United Nations (UN) resolutions since 1948. Since 30 March, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) have systematically and deliberately targeted protected Palestinians, killing 127 Palestinians, including 28 children, during peaceful demonstrations across the Gaza Strip.

[1] In addition, thousands of Palestinians have sustained injuries, including from live fire, rubber coated bullets, gas inhalation, as well as from direct gas canisters and shrapnel. Since 30 March, the IOF has also targeted medical teams and paramedics, killing two paramedics and injuring hundreds others.[2] The IOF has also targeted journalists and the press during the protests, killing two journalists, and injuring several others.

18th Great Return March Protests on Friday, 27 July 2018


During the 18th consecutive week of protests on Friday, 27 July 2018, between 3:00 and 8:00 pm, thousands of Palestinians gathered near the fence along the Gaza Strip, protesting against Israel’s closure and Israel’s prolonged denial to realise the right of return of Palestinian refugees. In response, the IOF positioned behind the fence used excessive and disproportionate force against the protesters, killing three Palestinian protestors, including two children. In addition, 145 Palestinians were injured, 116 of whom by live bullets, including 26 children, six medics and reporters. Of the 145 injured, six were in critical condition as of 27 July 2018.

At approximately 5:00 pm, on Friday, 27 July 2018, the IOF shot and killed Ghazi Muhammad Abu Mustafa, 43, with live ammunition in the head, east of Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis. Ghazi was participating in the peaceful protests, located at a distance of about 200 meters from the fence when he was shot. He was pronounced dead 30 minutes upon his arrival to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis.

On the same day, at approximately 7:00 pm, 12-year-old Majdi Ramzi Al-Satari was shot in the head by a live bullet, as he participated in peaceful demonstrations east of Khan Younis. Majdi was shot at a distance of about 100 meters from the fence. He was pronounced dead upon his arrival to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis.

The following day, on Saturday, 28 July 2018, at approximately 4:00 am, the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis pronounced the death of 17-year-old Mo’men Fathi Al-Hims, as a result of injuries he sustained on 27 July 2018. Mo’men was shot twice by the IOF while protesting near the fence east of Al-Shouka town in east Rafah. Mo’men was shot with a bullet that entered his back and exited through his chest, and another that hit him in his right leg.


In the northern Gaza Strip, 57 Palestinians were injured, including 12 children, six paramedics, and a journalist. Of the 57, 48 were shot with bullets, including 10 children and five paramedics. Meanwhile, in Malka, east of Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, east of Gaza City, 41 Palestinians were injured, 21 of whom by bullets, including one serious injury, whereas 20 were injured by direct gas canister hits and gas inhalation. In east of Al-Breij Refugee Camp, 15 Palestinians were injured, including three children. Of the 15 injured, 13 were injured by bullets, and two were directly hit by gas canisters. In the Khan Younis Governorate, ten Palestinians, including a child, were injured by the IOF during the protests in east of Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis. In the Rafah Governorate, demonstrations were concentrated east of Al-Shouka, east of Rafah, where 24 were injured by bullets, including eight children, and free press photographer.[3]

19th Great Return March Protests on Friday, 3 August 2018

During the 19th Great Return March Protests on Friday, 3 August 2018, the IOF shot and killed one Palestinian and injured 98, including ten children. Of the 98 injured that day, nine sustained critical injuries.


On 3 August, at approximately 7:40 pm, the IOF positioned behind the fence and above hills and sand barriers in Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood in the eastern Gaza Strip fired live bullets at Ahmad Yahia Yaghi, 26, while Ahmad was protesting at a distance of about 100 meters from the fence. Ahmad was wounded by a live bullet that penetrated his chest and exited from his back. Ahmad was taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

On 4 August 2018, at around 5:00 am, the Palestinian Health Ministry pronounced the death of 15-year-old Mo’ath Ziad al-Suri. Mo’ath was shot by a live bullet in the abdomen, at approximately 7:00 pm on Friday, 3 August 2018, in the peaceful demonstrations east of Al-Breij Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. On 5 August 2018, 17-year-old Ahmad Jihad Al-‘Aydi was pronounced dead as a result of a bullet shot to his head by the IOF on 30 March 2018.


On Friday, 3 August, in the northern Gaza Strip, 14 Palestinians, including four children, were injured with live bullets and gas canisters during protests in east of Jabaliya. Of the 14, three were seriously injured, including a child. In the ​​Malka area, east of Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, east of Gaza city, 35 Palestinians were injured by live bullets and tear gas canisters. In Al-Breij Refugee Camp, 20 Palestinians were injured, 19 of whom with bullets, including four children and one serious injury. In the east of Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis, the number of injuries amounted to 18, including one child and three in serious condition. Of the 18 injured, 14 were shot with live bullets, while four others with tear gas canisters. In the Rafah Governorate, demonstrations were concentrated in the area east of Al-Shouka, east of Rafah, where 11 Palestinians were injured, including a child, and two serious injuries.[4]

Legal Analysis

Al-Haq strongly condemns the IOF’s continued suppression of the Great Return March and warns against Israel’s persistent and deliberate unnecessary, indiscriminate, and disproportionate use of force and lethal force against Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip. The continued killing of peaceful Palestinian protesters constitutes a clear violation of Israel’s obligations under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which provides that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” The killings by the IOF may also amount to the war crime of wilful killing, giving rise to individual criminal responsibility at the International Criminal Court (ICC).[5] Al-Haq continues to be particularly concerned with Israel’s deliberate attacks against journalists and paramedics during the Great Return March.

Over the past five months, Israel has killed 28 Palestinian children in the occupied Gaza Strip, and five others in the West Bank.[6] Children are a vulnerable group who enjoy special protection under international humanitarian law.[7] The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) further provides protection for children and their right to life, [8] also protected by the ICCPR, notably in the context of armed conflict.[9]

Al-Haq calls on the international community to take immediate measures to ensure the protection of the right to life and the right to peaceful assembly and protest of the occupied Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and to help bring to an end Israel’s prolonged occupation.

Al-Haq calls on third state parties to urge Israel to immediately and unconditionally end the unlawful closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, including all recent measures of tightening the closure, which amount to collective punishment prohibited by international law.[10] Al-Haq further calls on Israel and third States parties to respect, protect, and fulfil their obligations to ensure the realisation of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, 70 years since their forcible transfer and displacement, following the 1948 Nakba.


[1] Between 30 March 2018 and 3 August 2018, Al-Haq documented the killing of 166 Palestinians by the IOF in the Gaza Strip, including 127 in the Great Return March protests.

[2] See: Al-Haq, 14 May 2018: IOF Commit Egrigious Killings of 59 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as Great Return March Protests Culminate Ahead of 70th Nakba Commemoration, 16 May 2018, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1247-14-may-2018-iof-commit-egregious-killings-of-59-palestinians-in-the-gaza-strip-as-great-return-march-protests-culminate-ahead-of-70th-nakba-commemoration and Al-Haq, Israeli Forces Kill Paramedic and Injure 100 Palestinians as Great Return March Enters 10th Week, 3 June 2018, available at: http://www.alhaq.org/advocacy/topics/gaza/1266-israeli-forces-kill-paramedic-and-injure-100-palestinians-as-great-return-march-enters-10th-week

[3] Al-Haq field documentation as of 27 July 2018.

[4] Al-Haq field documentation as of 3 August 2018.

[5] Article 8(2)(a)(i), Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

[6] DCI Palestine, Israeli Forces are Killing Palestinian Children at Record Rates, 6 August 2018, available at: http://www.dci-palestine.org/israeli_forces_are_killing_palestinian_children_at_record_rates

[7] Articles 23 and 50, Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 77, Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

[8] Article 6, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

[9] Article 38, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

[10] Article 33, Fourth Geneva Convention. See also EuroMed Rights, Joint Letter From Civil Society Organisations Urging for the Immediate Lifting of Gaza Blockade, 13 July 2018, available at: https://euromedrights.org/publication/joint-letter-from-civil-society-organisations-urging-for-the-immediate-lifting-of-gaza-blockade/

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