Three Killed by Unexploded Israeli Bombs in Gaza

Gaza police explosives teams working to detect and destroyed unexploded ordnance are hamstrung by lack of resources and equipment.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian school boys drink iced juice as they sit on a damaged wall of a school in Gaza City's Shujaiyeh neighborhood, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.
Palestinian school boys drink iced juice as they sit on a damaged wall of a school in Gaza City's Shujaiyeh neighborhood, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Unexploded ordnance from the recent Gaza conflict blew up Friday and killed two Palestinians, wounding three others, one of whom died of his wounds the next day.

Palestinian medical authorities said the explosion occurred in the eastern Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, identified the two fatalities as Ayman Ziad Abu Jibba, 23, and Abdullah Jibril Abu Aser, 23, and said that their bodies were taken to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. Mohammed Abu Asar, 24, who was very seriously injured by the explosion, subsequently died of his wounds.

In mid-August, six people were killed in a similar explosion, including four sappers from the Palestinian Police bomb disposal engineers unit in the Strip. Aid groups have warned that the ordnance are a particular threat to children, who often think the bombs are toys.

The Gaza Strip is currently littered with a large number of unexploded Israeli ordnance left over from the 51-day conflict that left more than 2,150 Palestinians dead, 11,200 injured, and more than 110,000 homeless.

Although Gaza police explosives teams have been working across the territory to destroy unexploded ordnance and prevent safety threats to locals, lack of proper equipment due to the seven-year Israeli siege as well as lack of resources more generally have hindered efforts.

The Palestinian Police said they do not have the tools and know-how to deal with such a large quantity of unexploded ordnance, particularly unexploded advanced missiles that require a great deal of knowledge to dismantle and remove safely. Sources in Gaza noted that they have very primitive equipment, for example, they do not have robots and other remote equipment to dismantle explosives in the field.

Even before the most recent fighting, unexploded ordnance from the 2008-9 and 2012 offensives was a major threat to Gazans.

A 2012 report published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that 111 civilians, 64 of whom were children, had fallen victim to unexploded ordnance between 2009 and 2012, reaching an average of four every month in 2012.

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