Palestinian Territory - Twelve civilians were killed and three others were injured in a direct and deliberate attack by Israel on 4 December 2023, for no reason, a Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor investigation conducted over the past months has revealed.

In the first week of December 2023, activists shared a video clip on social media that depicts a group of people—including women and children—lying on the ground by a cart on a Gaza City street. The Euro-Med Monitor teamcaptured the video and visited the targeted site to ascertain its characteristics and attempt to identify the victims, who appeared to be civilians.

Euro-Med Monitor field investigations into this incidenthave identified the victims as civilian members of the Abu Al-Ain family. The victims were targeted twice by two missiles fired by an Israeli drone in a non-conflict zone, which directly hit them as they were in the process of being displaced.

According to the findings, the Israeli army killed 12members of the Abu Al-Ain family—including five women and four children—and injured three more—a man, his child, and an elderly woman.

At around 3 pm on 4 December 2023, two missiles fired by Israeli drones, several minutes apart, targeted a group of civilians belonging to the Abu al-Ain family. The family members were in the Unknown Soldier’s Square, in the west of Gaza City, at the start of the street leading north, to the Friends of the Patient Hospital. The civilians had been forced to relocate westward on a horse-drawn cart from their home in the neighbourhood of Al-Daraj, after their house was hit by Israeli artillery shells.

The first missile claimed the lives of Yusra Muhammad Shehta Abu Al-Ain - Al-Dalu, 30, and her two children, Muhammad, 12, and Mira, 6. Moments later, another missile was fired, killing Mahmoud Muhammad Abu Al-Ain, 33, his wife Ghadeer Muhammad Al-Dawahidi, 30, their child Eileen, 6, and his two sisters Yara Muhammad Shaaban Abu Al-Ain, 33, and Badriya Muhammad Abu Al-Ain, 33, as well as her husband Hazem Hamdi Al-Jamali, 51. Fahima Rabah Abu Al-Ain, 58, was also killed, along with her son Saqr Yahya Abu Al-Ain, 20, and her grandson Fayez Ahmed Arqeq, 7. 

The injured include Shaaban Muhammad Shaaban Abu Al-Ain, 36, who lost his sight in one eye, had his right hand amputated, and had shrapnel all over his body; his 10-year-old child Abdullah, who suffered injuries from shrapnel in his right hand and below his eye and chest; and Nima Rabah Awad Abu Al-Ain, 60, a chronically ill woman who suffers from multiple diseases and was injured by shrapnel in her left hand and other parts of her body.

Following two hours of bombing in the area, the three injured and nine dead were taken to Al-Shifa Hospital, in the west of Gaza City, via a civilian car and animal-drawn vehicles. There, the dead were buried alongside other displaced victims in a mass grave near the hospital’s eastern gate. Those buried include Yusra Abu Al-Ain and her two children, Muhammad and Mira; Ghadeer Muhammad Al-Dawahidi and her child, Eileen; Fahima Abu Al-Ain and son, Saqr, plus her grandson, Fayez; and Yara Muhammad Abu Al-Ain. As for the rest, they were buried in Al-Sidra cemetery in the Daraj neighbourhood.

Shaaban Abu Al-Ain, 36, who survived the attack and whose wife Yusra was killed along with their two children, Muhammad and Mira, spoke with the Euro-Med team.According to Al-Ain, the family was forced to evacuate from their Al-Daraj home in a vehicle towards his brother Mahmoud’s X-ray clinic, where they had decided to take temporary shelter. “I asked the family to wait while I went to prepare the clinic, which was around 150 metres away,” he explained.

Al-Ain stated: “I was shocked to [hear an explosion]coming from a bombing that was occurring in the same direction as my family. As I rushed the area, I noticed another missile heading toward them, which struck my brother’s family and other family members directly, injuring me at the same time.

“We spent at least two hours with the bodies on the ground before being taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in animal-drawn cars and a civilian car after the Israeli army bombed the ambulances at the scene,” Al-Ain continued. “Later, we, the injured, were transferred to the Baptist Hospital in Gaza[City].”

Four of the nine family members’ remains were found in a mass grave in Al-Shifa Hospital’s courtyard on 7 May2024. The victims who were found and reburied in Al-Sidra cemetery were Ghadeer Muhammad Al-Dawahidi and her child, Eileen Mahmoud Abu Al-Ain, as well as Muhammad Shaaban Abu Al-Ain and Yara Muhammad Abu Al-Ain. The remains of the remaining victims have not yet been located.

Euro-Med Monitor’s investigation has confirmed that theIsraeli army had no reason to target the civilians, as there were no fighters among them and no military targets in the area. As a result, Euro-Med Monitor concludes that thefamily members were killed deliberately in the context of Israeli crimes against civilians, i.e. were targeted simply because they were Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s crime of genocide, ongoing since 7 October 2023.

Field teams from Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor are diligently and retroactively documenting war crimes, including planned killings of civilians throughout the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army has committed hundreds of crimes, the details of which are still unknown due to the ongoing Israeli invasion and attacks.

An urgent need remains for the swift formation of an international investigation committee, and experts must be sent to the Strip to investigate the genocide unfolding thereand to collect evidence before it is destroyed by Israel.