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From the field

Witness reports that Israeli soldiers shot woman waving white flag in Gaza Strip

Update: On 1 Jan. 2012 the MAG Corps informed B’Tselem that the investigation file had been closed on 16 June 2010. For more information click here.

A Palestinian who is besieged with his family in the Khuza'a area, in the south-eastern Gaza Strip, notified B'Tselem that soldiers had shot a woman waving a white flag and several civilians who were fleeing a bombed house on army orders.

Munir Shafik a-Najar, a resident of Khuza'a village, told B'Tselem's researcher by telephone that as of 2.30 A.M., the army has been demolishing homes in his area, which lies near the border with Israel. The forces have been using gunfire to signal civilians to evacuate their homes.

This morning, Rawhiya a-Najar, 50, stepped out of her house waving a white flag, so that the rest of the family could leave the house and walk behind her. The witness reported that she was shot and fell. Neither family members nor rescue workers have managed to reach her to ascertain her condition, but she is still lying motionless where she fell.

This afternoon, the army announced on loudspeakers that residents are to leave their homes and walk to a school in the village center. Some 30 people left their houses carrying white flags. The witness reported that after they had walked approximately 20 meters, fire was opened at the group, killing three of his relatives: Muhammad Salman a-Najar, 54, Ahmad Jum'a a-Najar, 25, and Khalil Hamdan a-Najar, 80. Many others were injured.

The rest of the group took cover in a nearby house, in which there are currently 46 persons waiting to evacuate the premises and take shelter in the village school. B'Tselem has passed on the information at its disposal to the army and the Red Crescent.

Although B'Tselem cannot, at present, independently verify or disprove the witness's claims, it believes their severity merits immediate notification of the media.