‘Strong Evidence’ of israel War Crimes on ‘Black Friday’: Amnesty
The London-based rights group called for those responsible for the alleged offences to be prosecuted as it published a detailed analysis of the Israeli military operation using eyewitness accounts, satellite imagery, photos and videos.
“There is strong evidence that Israeli forces committed war crimes in their relentless and massive bombardment of residential areas of Rafah in order to foil the capture of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, displaying a shocking disregard for civilian lives,” Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International, said in a statement.
“They carried out a series of disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks, which they have completely failed to investigate independently.”
The incidents addressed in the report centred on August 1, 2014, which has become known as “Black Friday,” when Goldin was captured shortly after a ceasefire was announced. He was later declared dead.
In response, the military was said to have implemented the so-called Hannibal Directive — a controversial procedure which allows for an intensive military response to secure the rescue of a captured soldier.
Israel bombed the city of Rafah and the surrounding area in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt. According to Amnesty, at least 135 civilians were killed in the air and ground assault.
Civilians had begun to return home due to the ceasefire announcement, Amnesty said.
“Massive and prolonged bombardment began without warning while masses of people were on the streets, and many of them, especially those in vehicles, became targets,” Amnesty said.
“Eyewitness accounts described horrifying scenes of chaos and panic as an inferno of fire from F-16 jets, drones, helicopters and artillery rained down on the streets, striking civilians on foot or in cars, as well as ambulances and other vehicles evacuating the wounded.”