US Raises Threat of Quake but Lowers Risk for TowersNew York TimesBy SAM ROBERTSJULY 17, 2014Here is another reason to buy a megAuthorities Expecting The Sixth Seal? (Revelation 6:12)a-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”The agency, the United States Geodetic Survey, tempered its latest quake prediction with a big caveat.“The eastern U.S. has the potential for larger and more damaging earthquakes than considered in previous maps and assessments,” the agency said, citing the magnitude 5.8 quake that struck Virginia in 2011.Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.“The tall buildings in Manhattan are not where you should be focusing,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. “They resonate with long period waves. They are designed and engineered to ride out an earthquake. Where you should really be worried in New York City is the common brownstone and apartment building and buildings that are poorly maintained.”Mr. Armbruster was not involved in the federal forecast, but was an author of an earlier study that suggested that “a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed.”He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.“Could there be a magnitude 6 in New York?” Mr. Armbruster said. “In Virginia, in a 300 year history, 4.8 was the biggest, and then you have a 5.8. So in New York, I wouldn’t say a 6 is impossible.”Mr. Armbruster said the Geodetic Survey forecast would not affect his daily lifestyle. “I live in a wood-frame building with a brick chimney and I’m not alarmed sitting up at night worried about it,” he said. “But society’s leaders need to take some responsibility.”
Gilad Erdan, also the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, quietly liked a tweet referring to “Israel’s nuclear deterrent.”
August 12 2021, 1:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, a quiet but notable event occurred on Twitter. First, Robert Satloff, head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, posted the below tweet approvingly referring to “Israel’s nuclear deterrent.” Then the tweet was liked by Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and the United Nations.
It’s difficult to interpret this in any other way than Erdan confirming that Israel possesses nuclear weapons:
The significance of Erdan’s show of approval is that while Israel first built nuclear weapons in the 1960s, the Israeli and U.S. governments both refuse to explicitly acknowledge this. There have long been secret, formal agreements between the two countries to maintain this pose, starting with one codified by President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1969.
Then came the Gulf War in 1991. U.N. Security Council Resolution 687famously required Iraq to surrender and eliminate all nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. But it also mentioned “the objective of the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region of the Middle East” and the “importance” of achieving this objective “using all available means.” This made Israel nervous. President Bill Clinton would eventually send Israel a secret letter stating that any American attempts at arms control would not involve Israeli nuclear weapons. Similar letters were signed by Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
The behavior of both countries would appear, on its face, silly and childish. After all, everyone on Earth who cares to know understands that Israel is a nuclear power. The denial of this leads to absurd behavior by U.S. officials, as documented by Sam Husseini of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Public Accuracy. A video compilation by Husseini features the 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards; the late Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; George W. Bush’s Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; and many, many others providing nonsensical answers to Husseini’s simple question “Does Israel have nuclear weapons?”
However, there are rational reasons for the behavior of both countries. Two 1970s amendments to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act appear to bar U.S. aid to any country with nuclear weapons that is not a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons — at least without a formal presidential waiver. Sen. Stuart Symington, D.-Mo., author of one of the amendments, said at the time that “if you wish to take the dangerous and costly steps necessary to achieve a nuclear weapons option, you cannot expect the United States to help underwrite that effort indirectly or directly.” Thus all U.S. military and economic assistance to Israel may be illegal.
It has also long been the belief of the U.S. foreign policy establishment that an open Israeli acknowledgement that it possesses nuclear weapons would incentivize other countries in the Middle East to develop such weapons themselves.
In any case, the New York Times op-edby Peter Beinart, a columnist and journalism professor, makes the case that this continued denial of reality is untenable. In particular, he writes, “the American government’s deceptive silence prevents a more honest debate at home about the dangers an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose.” While U.S. officials are well aware of who in the region has nuclear weapons and who doesn’t, regular Americans are not. A recent poll found that just 52 percent of respondents correctly said that Israel has nukes, while 61 percent incorrectly said that Iran does.
It’s unclear whether Satloff’s criticism of Beinart is that no one should acknowledge reality or that Beinart does not believe that the U.S. should straightforwardly endorse different international rules for Israel and Iran. Satloff’s organization, the Washington Institute, was founded by a former employee of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and received funding from many of AIPAC’s top supporters.
Neither Erdan nor Satloff responded to a request for comment. Erban’s Twitter behavior was first cited by the writer Abe Silberstein.
HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA — The Commander of the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons arsenal is expressing serious concerns about the growing weapons threat presented by China’s massive military expansion.
“We are witnessing a strategic breakout by China including explosive growth in modernization in nuclear and conventional forces which can be described as breathtaking. It does not matter why China continues to grow and modernize. They are building the capability to execute any nuclear employment strategy. China is unconstrained by treaties. Business as usual will not work,” Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said before an audience at the 2021 Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
Richard went on to cite a handful of specific Chinese weapons systems which continue to both expand and cause significant concern. China has a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launcher able to launch missiles armed with multiple reentry vehicles, DF-26 missiles, Jin-classnuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines armed with new, long-range JL-3 missiles and its H-6 nuclear-armed bomber. China is also rapidly increasing its arsenal of nuclear weapons and improving its nuclear capacity.
There are additional Chinese capacity variables that only compound U.S. concerns about the threat. China has a large and fast-growing number of nuclear weapons to include ICBMs and two nuclear missile fields in Western China, each with 120 missiles, Richard said.
Richard was clear that there are metrics and technological variables far more significant than sheer numbers when it comes to the actual size of a given country’s number of nuclear weapons.
“I caution about a comparison of stockpiles. A nation’s stockpile is a crude measure, as you need delivery systems and range as well,” Richard explained.
Additionally, Richard mentioned the crucial significance of arsenal size and capacity, saying that although the United States now has more ICBMs than China, that margin of difference is rapidly diminishing. The Pentagon’s 2020 China Military Report, for example, specifies that China will likely double the size of its nuclear stockpile over the next decade.
“Mass matters or quantity has a quality all of its own. Does not matter if our stuff is better, if you don’t have enough of them you still lose,” Richard said.
Richard made his comments in the context of deterrence theory and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s call for “integrated deterrence.”
“To achieve integration every domain must be considered,” Richard said.
Finally, Richard concluded his remarks with an interesting reference to what could be called an enduring paradox of deterrence, essentially ensuring massive, devastating destruction with nuclear weapons for the explicit and clear purpose of maintaining peace.
“Nuclear weapons systems are the only weapons for which you don’t have to pull the trigger for them to be used effectively,” Richard said.
Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.
Aug. 12, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News
The U.S. is now navigating through uncharted waters with the possibility of strategic deterrence failing under rapidly growing threats from China and Russia, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said.
Navy Adm. Charles A. Richard described those threats and provided solutions through integrated deterrence in all domains, both conventional as well as nuclear, across the services and in tandem with allies and partners when he spoke today at the Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
“We are witnessing a strategic breakout by China. The explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as breathtaking. And frankly, that word breathtaking may not be enough,” he said.
China is rapidly improving its strategic nuclear capability and capacity, Richard said. It’s growing and enhancing its missile force, including multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles. These include intermediate range ballistic missiles, mobile ICBMs and submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missiles.
Beijing is also pursuing advanced weapons such as hypersonics, he said.
“Because of these challenges our current terrestrial- and space-based sensor architecture may not be sufficient to detect and track these hypersonic missiles,” he said.
In 2019, China tested more ballistic missiles than the rest of the world combined, he noted.
Beijing is also developing a modern nuclear command and control capability and is modernizing its conventional forces to include ships, submarines and aircraft, he added.
“They have the largest Navy in the world and they have the third largest air force in the world,” he said.
Russia continues to use a wide range of capabilities that are below the threshold of conflict, such as cyber and state-sponsored coercion of nations, seeking to solidify great power status, Richard said.
Russia is pursuing modernization of its conventional and strategic forces, he said. Nuclear weapons remain a foundational aspect of Russia’s strategy and they have recapitalized over 80% of their strategic nuclear forces, including expanded warhead delivery capacity.
Like China, Russia is investing heavily in developing hypersonic weapons and a variety of other missiles, he said.
Nuclear modernization is a Defense Department priority for deterrence, Richard said.
That modernization includes not just the nuclear triad, it also includes investing in a nuclear command and control system that is protected against cyberattacks, he said.
“Every operational plan in the Department of Defense, and every other capability we have, rests on an assumption that strategic deterrence will hold. And if strategic deterrence, and in particular nuclear deterrence, doesn’t hold, none of our other plans, and no other capability that we have is going to work as designed,” Richard said.
Richard also mentioned bolstering conventional forces, missile defense and standing up the Joint Al-Domain Command and Control system. Developing and fielding hypersonics and high-energy laser weapons are also very important.
To better understand and respond to national security threats, the department needs to harness America’s great intellectual community, as it has done before with the RAND Corporation, he said.
The ongoing National Defense Strategy, Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review, are the ideal means to address the threats, inform decision makers and inform the department’s path forward.
Industry as well needs to shore up the nation’s defenses by delivering needed technology and systems on time and at reasonable cost, he said.
The importance of allied and partner interoperability and rigorous joint and combined war games and exercises cannot be overstated, Richard said.
Pakistan on Thursday successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable surface-to-surface ballistic missile which can strike targets up to 290 kilometres, the army said.
The successful training launch of ballistic missile ‘Ghaznavi’ was aimed at ensuring operational readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command, besides re-validating technical parameters of the weapon system, the army said in a statement.
The training launch was witnessed by Lt. Gen Muhammad Ali, Commander Army Strategic Forces Command, senior officers from Strategic Plans Division, Army Strategic Forces Command, Scientists and Engineers of the strategic organizations, it said.
As per the military’s media wing, missile Ghaznavi is capable of delivering multiple types of warheads up to a range of 290 kilometres.
Commander Army Strategic Forces Command appreciated the excellent standard of training, handling of the weapon system and execution of launch mission in the field by troops, the statement said.
President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Service Chiefs have congratulated all ranks of Army Strategic Forces Command, the scientists and engineers on successful conduct of today’s launch, the army said.
US Hits IRGC Qods Force Network With Sanctions
Friday, 13 Aug 2021 20:58
RmOn Friday, the man US Treasury Department levied sanctions on an international oil smuggling network that supports Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force. It charged that senior Quds Force officials use proceeds from their involvement in Iranian oil exports to help fund Iran’s destabilizing regional activities. The sanctions targeted Mahmood Rashid Amur Al-Habsi, an Omani national, who has entered into partnerships with senior Quds Force officials, as well as Oman-based, Liberian-registered, and Romania-based entities.
These sanctions designations are noteworthy for several reasons. First, they come amid stalled nuclear negotiations in Vienna between Iran and world powers. The Biden administration has been signalling in the media its growing impatience with the prolonged gap between the sixth and seventh rounds of nuclear negotiations over reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). US officials have recently suggested to media outlets that they are prepared to crack down on enforcement of sanctions, which have been lacking given China’s importation of large quantities of Iranian oil in recent months. The inclusion in Friday’s announcement that Al-Habsi facilitated shipments of Iranian oil to foreign customers, including buyers in East Asia, was thus likely a signal of the Biden administration’s readiness to more aggressively enforce US sanctions.
Second, the sanctions designation, while meant to send a message to Tehran, was also narrowly-tailored in the authorities it employed to sanction these individuals and entities. The measures were levied pursuant to Executive Order 13224—which is a counterterrorism authority—and the Quds Force’s subsequent sanctioning in 2007 pursuant to this authority. Even if the United States and Iran manage to find their way back into compliance with the JCPOA, Executive Order 13224 and the Quds Force’s terrorism designation will likely remain on the books.
Third, in today’s announcement, Rostam Ghasemi, a former Iranian oil minister and Quds Force official, made a cameo appearance. The Biden administration reported that Al-Habsi worked in partnership with Ghasemi in this scheme and highlighted that Ghasemi was sanctioned in 2019 pursuant to Executive Order 13224—a Trump era designation. Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi has just nominated Ghasemi as roads and urban development minister in his cabinet. This could also be a signal of US readiness to maintain these counterterrorism designations even on incoming members of Raisi’s cabinet. In a separate statement issued on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned “the United States will continue to expose and disrupt those supporting such efforts.”
Life12 Aug 2021 2:00 pm AEST
Palestinian armed groups’ rocket and mortar attacks during the May 2021 fighting in the Gaza Strip, which killed and injured civilians in Israel and Gaza, violated the laws of war and amount to war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. Palestinian and Israeli authorities have a long track record of failing to investigate alleged war crimes, highlighting the importance of the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Israeli and Palestinian conduct.
The Hamas armed wing and other Palestinian armed groups launched rockets and fired mortars toward Israeli population centers that resulted in the deaths of 12 civilians in Israel and injuries to dozens of others. Munitions apparently directed toward Israel that misfired and fell short killed and injuredan undetermined number of Palestinians in Gaza. Human Rights Watch investigated several of the attacks that killed Israeli citizens, as well as a Palestinian rocket attack that misfired above the city of Jabalya in the Gaza Strip, killing 7 Palestinian civilians and injuring 15.
“Palestinian armed groups during the May fighting flagrantly violated the laws-of-war prohibition on indiscriminate attacks by launching thousands of unguided rockets towards Israeli cities,” said Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The failure of both Hamas authorities and the Israeli government to provide accountability for alleged war crimes by their forces highlights the essential role of the International Criminal Court.”
In late July, Human Rights Watch reported on Israeli strikes in Gaza in May that accounted for 62 of the 129 or more Palestinian civilians who, according to the United Nations, were killed in Israeli strikes. Human Rights Watch found that these attacks violated the laws of war and amount to apparent war crimes. Human Rights Watch will soon release a report on Israeli airstrikes that destroyed or extensively damaged four high-rise towers in Gaza.
Israeli authorities reported that Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups launched more than 4,360 unguided rockets and mortars toward Israeli population centers between May 10 and 21. They said that the rocket attacks resulted in the death of 10 civilians in Israel, that mortar fire killed 2 more, and that “several hundred” people were injured. Nine of the civilians were Israelis, including 2 children and 2 Palestinian citizens of Israel, and 3 were foreign nationals.
Hamas authorities should stop unlawful rocket attacks toward Israeli population centers, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch in July interviewed 12 people in Israel and Gaza who witnessed a Palestinian rocket attack or are relatives of civilians killed. Human Rights Watch examined two rocket strikes in Israel that killed three civilians: Leah Yom Tov, 63, who was killed by metal fragments from a Palestinian rocket at her home in Rishon LeZion, south of Tel Aviv, on the evening of May 11; and Nadine Awad, 16, and Khalil Awad, 52, killed in front of their home in the Palestinian village of Dahmash in central Israel, about 20 kilometers from Tel Aviv, in the early morning of May 12.
The rocket attacks that killed Yom Tov and the Awads occurred after the al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas armed wing, said in a statement on the evening of May 11 that they had “directed the largest rocket barrage toward Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas, with 130 rockets, in response to the enemy’s targeting of civilian buildings.” On May 21, a coalition of Palestinian armed groups issued a statement seeking to justify their rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns: “We put Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva and all the occupied cities, the usurped places and sites under fire, in response to the barbaric aggression against our people.”
Human Rights Watch also determined that a Palestinian rocket that misfired killed seven people in Jabalya in the Gaza Strip on May 10. Human Rights Watch based this finding on witness interviews, site visits, an inspection of rocket remnants, and a review of video footage.
Under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, warring parties may only attack military objectives. They must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians. Deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects are prohibited – claims by Hamas and other armed groups that rockets launched against Tel Aviv and other population centers were a response to unlawful Israeli attacks suggest that they were deliberate attacks on civilians. The laws of war also prohibit indiscriminate attacks, which include attacks that do not target a specific military objective, or that use a means or method of attack that cannot be directed at a specific military target. Warring parties to the extent feasible must also avoid firing weapons from within or near densely populated areas and otherwise take necessary precautions to protect civilians under their control from attack.
An individual who commits a serious violation of the laws of war with criminal intent – that is, deliberately or recklessly – is responsible for war crimes. The rockets and mortars that Palestinian armed groups fired lack guidance systems and are prone to misfire, making them extremely inaccurate and thus inherently indiscriminate when directed toward areas with civilians. Launching such rockets to attack civilian areas is a war crime.
On May 12, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicated that it was monitoring the situation in Gaza. The prosecutor’s office should include in its Palestine investigation unlawful Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel, as well as unlawful Israeli attacks in Gaza.
Palestinian armed groups also fired numerous unguided rockets during prior rounds of fighting, including in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2018, and 2019. The May hostilities took place amid Israel’s sweeping closure of the Gaza Strip, which began in 2007, and discriminatory efforts to remove Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem – policies and practices that are part of the Israeli government’s crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution, as Human Rights Watch has documented.
On May 27, the UN Human Rights Council established a Commission of Inquiry to address violations and abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and in Israel, including by advancing accountability for those responsible and justice for victims. The commission should examine unlawful attacks committed by Palestinian armed groups during the May fighting and analyze the larger context of the violence, including the Israeli government’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinians. The commission’s findings should be shared with the ICC prosecutor and other credible judicial authorities examining the situation, Human Rights Watch said.
Judicial authorities in other countries should also investigate and prosecute under national laws those credibly implicated in serious crimes in the OPT and in Israel under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Governments should also support a strong political declaration that addresses the harm that explosive weapons cause to civilians and commits states to avoid using those with wide-area effects in populated areas.
“Hamas authorities should stop trying to justify unlawful rocket attacks that indiscriminately kill and injure civilians by pointing to Israel’s violations,” Goldstein said. “The laws of war are meant to protect all civilians from harm.”
The May 2021 fighting followed efforts by Jewish settler groups to evict and confiscate the property of longtime Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem. Palestinians held demonstrations around East Jerusalem, and Israeli security forces fired teargas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring hundreds of Palestinians.
On May 10, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza started to launch rockets toward Israeli population centers. The Israeli military carried out attacks in the densely populated Gaza Strip with missiles, rockets, and artillery. Many of the attacks by the Israeli military and Palestinian armed groups used explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas. A ceasefire between the warring parties went into effect on May 21.
Palestinian Rocket Attacks, Mortar Fire Killing, and Injuring Civilians in Israel
Of the more than 4,360 rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups, 3,573 “penetrated Israeli airspace,” according to Israeli authorities. Israeli authorities said that their aerial defense system, known as Iron Dome, intercepted about 90 percent of the rocket attacks.
The attacks resulted in the death of 13 people in Israel, including 12 civilians, 2 of them children, and in injuries to several hundred people, according to Israeli authorities. The authorities said the attacks killed 9 civilians directly, while 3 more died as a result of accidents or cardiac arrest that occurred while they ran to take cover as rockets approached. The 12 civilians killed included 9 Israelis, including 2 Palestinian citizens of Israel, and 3 foreign nationals – 2 from Thailand and 1 from India.
Leah Yom Tov in Rishon LeZion, May 11
Leah Yom Tov, 63, was killed at about 8 p.m. on May 11 in Rishon LeZion, south of Tel Aviv, after a rocket struck her home. Her son, Kfir Yom Tov, said:
My mother retired two years ago and was flourishing. Her life was filled with everything she loved to do. She was very spiritual and thanked God for each day. She supported peace and saw the positive and good side in every human being. She knew how to connect with others and develop good relations with them. She took care of everyone. She was a very giving person. She was studying natural health and wanted to enhance other people’s lives by advising them on good nutrition and thinking positively about their lives.
He said that she was at home alone when the rocket struck and was killed instantly by munition fragments:
When I heard the sirens and the sound of the heavy barrage of rockets in the area, I called her to check on her, but she didn’t answer. I drove to her house. The street was closed, and it was full of soldiers, police, and paramedics. It took them a while to identify her and confirm that she had been killed.
She was a person of giving, and the emptiness and space she left behind is hard to describe.
Khalil Awad, 52, and his daughter Nadine, 16, were both killed in a rocket attack in front of their home in the Palestinian village of Dahmash in central Israel at about 3 a.m. on May 12. Suzan Awad, the wife and mother of the victims, described the rocket strike:
Our village is totally neglected, and we don’t have basic services and infrastructure such as [bomb] shelters. The two nights before the attack, we didn’t know what to do and where to go. We ran in and out of the house and sometimes we ran into the street to look for shelter but there was no shelter in the area. We didn’t know where to hide….
That night, we couldn’t sleep from the sound of the rockets. The barrage of rockets in the neighborhood was so heavy and strong and, as always, we didn’t know where to hide ourselves. Many times in this situation, we don’t feel safe staying at home, so we escape outside but without knowing where to go exactly. …
That night, Khalil and Nadine were terrified, the sound of the rockets falling were so close, so they decided to leave the house and seek protection outside at the entrance of the house. We live in a ground-floor home with only three steps at the entrance, so they decided to stand at the stairs and stick to the wall. They did that because we always hear that, in this kind of situation, it’s recommended to hide in the stairway, but we do not have a stairway. The only stairs we have is three steps at the entrance. But the rocket fell on the ground outside, next to the entrance where they stood, a few meters from them. It killed them immediately. It also caused huge damage to our house.
Awad described her husband as “a loving, giving, and modest man.”
He was a metal worker and worked very hard to provide everything for his family. For him, providing our children with a good education was his top priority. My daughter’s dream was to be a doctor to help others and contribute to the community. She was very talented. At school she was known as an outstanding student and took part in so many school projects and activities. She studied very hard and invested a lot to get good grades, so she could study medicine in Israel. She loved art and music so much and [recently] she learned online how to play guitar. She liked it very much, though she was better at piano.
I’m still shocked and traumatized, can’t believe they are gone and not here with me anymore. It’s hard for me to go back to my routine, hard to resume my work. Before this tragedy, I used to work at a clothing store, and I can’t do it anymore. No one should suffer like this. I pray for peace for everyone, for Palestinians and Israelis, and I hope that this tragedy brings more attention to Dahmash and hope the circumstances here will be better.
Ido Abigail in Sderot, May 12
A Palestinian rocket attack killed 5-year-old Ido Abigail in Sderot, near Gaza, on May 12. The rocket struck the safe room of Ido’s family’s apartment and also injured seven other family members, including his mother and 7-year-old sister. The Jerusalem Post reported that Ido’s father, Assaf Abigail, who was not home at the time of the attack, said in a eulogy for his son, “I’m sorry that the shard hit you instead of me” and that “I will live with a hole in my heart for eternity.” He added, “I hope that you are the last sacrifice and that this is the last time that a parent buries his child.”
Israeli authorities identified the other civilians who died in Israel as a result of Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks as: Soumya Santosh, 32, an Indian national working in Ashkelon; Nella Gurevitz, 52, from Ashkelon; Orly Liron, 52, from Netaim, a moshav, or cooperative village, south of Tel Aviv; Miriam Arie, 82, from Shtulim, a moshav near Ashdod in southern Israel; Gershon Franko, 55, from Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv; Hava Vaknin, 73, from Holon, near Tel Aviv; Sikharin Sangamram, 24, a Thai national working in Ohad, a moshav near Gaza; and Weerawat Krunboorirak, 44, a Thai national also employed in Ohad.
Misfired Palestinian Rockets Striking Gaza
Some Palestinian rockets – 680 according to the Israeli military – misfired, fell short, and struck in Gaza, in some instances causing deaths and injuries. Hamas authorities have not provided information about how many rockets misfired or how many people died as a result in Gaza and there are no precise independent estimates.
Death of 7 Civilians in Jabalya, Gaza Strip, May 10
Human Rights Watch determined, based on witness accounts during site visits, munition remnants, and a review of video footage, that a Palestinian rocket misfired in the city of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip on the evening of May 10, killing seven civilians, including two children.
Human Rights Watch visited the site on July 14 and 26 and spoke with 10 witnesses to the strike and its aftermath. We are withholding their names for their security.
The rocket, launched at around 6 p.m. on May 10, landed in Martyr Saleh Dardona Street, about 20 meters from the Omari Mosque, in Jabayla. Three adults and one child who were on the street at the time said they saw a rocket rise into the sky above them and then fall to the street. Two of the adults said they saw the rocket coming from the northwest. A fourth person heard the sound of a rocket being launched and saw it strike in front of his shop.
The wife of one of those killed said:
[My husband] had just come home from work. He had bought sweets and new clothes for everyone, in preparation for Eid [Muslim holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan]. Before he left, he gave the kids some sweets and kissed and hugged them. Then he asked me to look after the kids, as he wanted to buy one more thing. He told me he wouldn’t be delayed, as he was feeling tired. But he never came back.
A local shop owner said:
People were gathering [on the street] watching the rockets in the sky. I saw a rocket spinning in the air and then it came down and exploded, about 10 meters from where I was standing. There was smoke. I saw the dead and injured. I couldn’t stand what I saw. I broke down.… I saw a child, Mohammed Shaban, whose eyes were bleeding.
A relative of another person killed said:
At about 6 p.m. I was standing near the entrance to the local market on Martyr Salah Dardona Street. I was near about 50 people who were close together in the street. Some of them were there to get food for poor people, cooked by locals wanting to help the poor during Ramadan.
Suddenly, I heard a barrage of rockets being fired and I looked up and saw them rise in the air. I saw one rocket rising in the shape of a spiral and then it came down in the middle of the street about 10 meters from where I was standing.
He said that among those killed and injured in the attack was a father and a child washing a car, a man riding a motorbike, a child coming to get a plate of food, a woman exiting a hairdresser’s shop, and a child playing in front of a bicycle shop. He said he later spoke to a person who had learned what had happened and told him that “six rockets were launched from the Sheikh Radwan area” of Jabalya, a shopping and residential area one kilometer from where the rocket hit, and all struck different areas nearby.
Relatives and the Gaza Health Ministry identified the victims as Bara al-Gharabli, 6; Mustafa Mohammad Obied, 14; Mousa Khamees Junied al-Zain, 20; Raed Abu Warda, 33; Nabeel Noman Dardona, 24; Ismat al-Zain, 50; and Basheer Aloush, 54. The rocket also injured 15 people, including 5 children, said relatives of the injured and others who know them.
Owners of shops nearby showed Human Rights Watch remnants of the munition, which they said they had recovered from the street or inside nearby shops on the day of the incident. The remnants indicate that the weapons used were rockets similar in size and payload to Grad-type unguided artillery rockets. The size and scale of the blast and fragmentation damage to walls near the scene was consistent with the detonation of this type of munition./Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.