Al-Dalu family killing

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The Al-Dalu family killing refers to the 18 November 2012 deaths of twelve people – ten members of the al-Dalu family, including five children and an elderly woman, plus of two of the family's neighbors, including another elderly woman – resulting from an Israeli air-strike on the family's home in Gaza City during Operation Pillar of Cloud. Several nearby houses were destroyed in the attack. At least nine other civilians were hurt.[1][better source needed] Mohammed Jamal al-Dalu, a member of a Gazan police unit charged with protecting important people, was one of those killed in the airstrike. The Israeli army said that he was the target of the raid.[2]

Israeli official statements[edit]

On the day of strike the Israel Defense Forces(IDF) said that the head of Hamas' rocket unit Yahia Rabia was killed in the strike, but later corrected itself saying he is a high-ranking operative within the unit and was possibly not even hurt in the strike. A Gaza source said that the target was apparently Jamal Mohammed Yassin Dalu, 50, an engineer, who is likely linked to the rocket unit.[3] Human Rights Watch, who conducted an investigation over the strike, stated that Rabea's name is not listed as a killed fighter on the official websites belonging to the military wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad who were killed during the operation.[4] A relative of the al-Dalu family, Hatem al-Dalu, said that he had never heard of Rabea and that Israel's explanation was "nonsense."[5]

The Israeli press reported that a military investigation of the incident would be conducted.[citation needed] After a period of declining commentary on the deaths,[2] on 27 Nov 2012, the Israeli army said that Mohammed Jamal al-Dallu, a member of the Hamas police who died in the attack was the target of the raid. IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said, "The father was a known terror operative affiliated with the military wing of Hamas." She added: "There was no mistake from the IDF. It's tragic when a terror operative is hiding among civilians but unfortunately it is part of Hamas and Islamic Jihad tactics."[2]

Mohammed Jamal al-Dallu was the father of four of the children killed in the strike.[6] Neighbors of the al-Dalu family said to reporters that there was no connection between the family and militant groups.[7] Human Rights Watch has criticized the IDF for failing to provide information supporting its claims about Mohamed al-Dalu. According to the group, the IDF did not respond to its request for more information on the strike.[4]

Criticism of the airstrike[edit]

Sherine Tadros, the Al Jazeera correspondent to the Middle East who covered the conflict from Gaza, criticized the IDF policy of targeting the family homes of alleged militants on the grounds of the high civilian death toll that it can produce: "Does anyone stop and ask: even if there was a Hamas official inside the house, is killing ten innocent civilians to take out one official who is obviously under Israeli surveillance justified?"[8]

During the engagement in Gaza, the IDF said that it fired warning shots over residential areas so as to allow civilians to flee their homes before Israel's air-strikes. Jamal al-Dalu, owner of the house, and patriarch of the killed family, said however that no warning shot had been given to allow his family to flee the area: "They didn’t give us a warning. They just hit the house with the children in it. My daughters were in their youth. What did they do to them?"[9]

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights called the strike "an example of blatant targeting of civilians."[1] Human Rights Watch called the strike disproportionate and a war crime, and has called for the family members of the victims to be compensated.[4]


The Dalu family victims were: Mohamed al-Dalu, 25; Samah Abdul Hamid al-Dalu, 27; Jamal Mohammed Jamal al-Dalu, 6; Yousef Mohammed Jamal al-Dalu, 4; Sarah Mohammed Jamal al-Dalu, 7; Ibrahim Mohammed Jamal al-Dalu, 1; Tahani Hassan al-Dalu, 52; Suhaila Mahmoud al-Dalu, 73; and Raneen Jamal al-Dalu, 22. The two neighbors killed were members of the al-Mauzannar family; they were: Ameena Matar al-Mauzannar, 75; and Abdullah Mohammed al-Muzannar, 19.[6][10]


  1. ^ a b "Attempts to Rescue the al-Dalu Family Ongoing; Israeli Occupation Forces Destroy House over Its Residents". Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Strike that killed Gaza family was 'no mistake': Israel". Agence France Presse via Ahram Online. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "5 women, 4 children killed in Gaza strike". YnetNews. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Israel/Gaza: Israeli Airstrike on Home Unlawful". Human Rights Watch. 7 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Maayan Lubell (19 November 2012). "Israel investigating Gaza attack that killed 11 Palestinians". Reuters. Retrieved 2 December 2012. Hatem al-Dalu, a relative of the family, said: 'I have never heard such a name (Yihia Abayah). This is nonsense.' 
  6. ^ a b "Dispatches from Gaza: 'Were my wife, my children, terrorists?'". Amnesty International (UK). 26 November 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Harriet Sherwood (19 November 2012). "Gaza conflict: family's four children buried as bombardment continues". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Sherine Tadros (20 November 2012). "Covering This Gaza War". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  9. ^ Jodi Rudoren (19 November 2012). "Hoisting Dead Children, Gazans Mourn Family Killed by Israeli Strike". New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Israel blasts Hamas police building on sixth day of conflict". AFP via ABC News. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.