​Israeli forces drive a military vehicle

Israeli forces drive a military vehicle in southern Israel, near the border with the Gaza Strip, on December 20, 2023.

(Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

UN Office Details Alleged IDF 'Summary Killing' of Gaza Men in Front of Families

OHCHR noted that reporting on the killings "raises alarm about the possible commission of a war crime."

Amid mounting war crime claims against Israeli troops, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights revealed Wednesday that it "has received disturbing information alleging that Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) summarily killed at least 11 unarmed Palestinian men in front of their family members" in the Gaza Strip.

Citing witness accounts shared by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor and journalists, OHCHR said that while raiding a Gaza City building where multiple related families were sheltering on Tuesday night, "the IDF allegedly separated the men from the women and children, and then shot and killed at least 11 of the men, mostly aged in their late 20s and early 30s, in front of their family members."

"The IDF then allegedly ordered the women and children into a room, and either shot at them or threw a grenade into the room, reportedly seriously injuring some of them, including an infant and a child," added the office, which has confirmed the killings at Al Awda building—also known as the Annan building—but not the other details.

OHCHR noted that reporting on the killings in Gaza City's Al Remal neighborhood "raises alarm about the possible commission of a war crime" and "comes in the wake of earlier allegations concerning the deliberate targeting and killing of civilians at the hands of Israeli forces."

"The Israeli authorities must immediately institute an independent, thorough, and effective investigation into these allegations, and if found to be substantiated, those responsible must be brought to justice and measures implemented to prevent any such serious violations from recurring," the U.N. office declared.

"My sister informed me that an Israeli force raided the house and executed the young men... The Israeli soldiers later threw shells at the women, who were being held in one of the rooms."

Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement Wednesday that Israeli soldiers killed 13 people in the building and "kidnapped an elderly man, whose fate is still unknown," according to "horrific testimonies" obtained by the Geneva-based group.

"My sister informed me that an Israeli force raided the house and executed the young men," a relative of the victims told the monitor. "Thirteen persons were shot dead and several more were critically injured. The Israeli soldiers later threw shells at the women, who were being held in one of the rooms."

"My mother, my sister, and my brother's wife were injured along with several others," the relative added. "If they are not saved right away, they might die at any time."

The monitor noted that 27 women and children "trapped inside the house—many of whom with severe injuries or amputations—appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross to coordinate their evacuation and save their lives."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group in the United States, responded to the allegations by demanding a United Nations investigation.

"While the Biden administration blocks all attempts to end the genocide in Gaza, real people are being slaughtered daily in ways that echo the darkest periods of human history," said CAIR national communications director Ibrahim Hooper. "Our nation must call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end the killing, ethnic cleansing, and starvation of an entire people—the very definition of genocide."

Israel's "genocidal" war on Gaza—launched in retaliation for a Hamas-led attack on October 7 that killed over 1,100 people—has left more than 20,000 Palestinians dead, including 8,000 children, displaced the vast majority of the besieged strip's 2.3 million residents, and devastated civilian infrastructure.

Separately on Wednesday, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) sent the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor a list of 40 IDF officers who had command responsibility over units involved in the assault and blockade of Gaza through mid-November.

While not comprehensive, DAWN said, "the list of identified Israeli officials serves as a repository of the prime Israeli suspects the ICC prosecutor (or any war crimes prosecutor) should consider in its ongoing investigation into violations of the Rome Statute in this war."

Meanwhile, despite growing global calls for a cease-fire, the United States—which gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military aid and is now considering a $14.3 billion package for the war—delayed a U.N. Security Council vote on a Gaza resolution for the third time this week.

This post has been updated with comment from CAIR.

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