UN Calls for Independent Investigation of Israel War Crime
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights spoke out in Geneva January 8, 2009 for an independent investigation into possible Israeli war crime in Gaza when the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirmed that Palestinian civilians were corralled at gunpoint into a house in the dilapidated neighbourhood of Zeitoun just south of Gaza City January 4, 2009 having been given a 'safety in numbers' pretense. 24 hours later, the Israeli army summarily rocketed the roof and shelled the building, killing 30 and maiming others of the 110 Palestinian civilians they had put in the house.
A 19-year-old female survivor, Meysa Samouni, recounts: "When the missile stuck, I lay down with my daughter under me. Everything filled up with smoke and dust, and I heard screams and crying. After the smoke and dust cleared a bit, I looked around and saw 20 to 30 people who were dead, and about 20 who were wounded. The persons killed around me were my husband, who was hit in the back, my father-in-law, who was hit in the head and whose brain was on the floor, my mother-in-law Rabab, my father-in-law's brother Talal, his wife Rhama Muhammad a-Samouni, Talal's son's wife, Maha Muhammad a-Samouni, her son, Muhammad Hamli a-Samouni, just 5 months old, whose whole brain was outside his body."
"We don't warn people to go to other buildings. This is not something we do," said Israeli military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich. "We don't know this case. We don't know that we attacked it. It's not confirmed that we attacked it."
Israel Defense Forces said it is looking into the allegations.
"Credible eyewitness accounts" described the incident, which occurred in the volatile Gaza City suburb of Zeitoun, said Allegra Pacheco, deputy head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Palestinian territories. Pacheco spoke to CNN on Friday. Read full article »