PCHR Covers Up Combatant Deaths in Gaza

Not much is known yet about the identities (civilian or combatant) of many of the Gaza casualties of the last day, but we do know the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is up to its usual antics of covering up combatant casualties. At least two, and likely four, Islamic Jihad members were among the dead in the last 24 hours, but PCHR’s press release today mentions civilians only.

Last night’s killing of Islamic Jihad’s Ismail al-Ismar was widely reported. Ateya Mkat, pictured in the AP photo below (with its original AP caption), was the other casualty who has been identified as part of Islamic Jihad.

Palestinians carry the body of Islamic Jihad militant Ateya Mkat, 22, who was killed in an Israeli air strike Wednesday, during his funeral in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. Palestinian official [sic] said that the militant was killed during an Israeli air strike late Wednesday.. Palestinian militants fired rocket barrages that wounded an Israeli baby Wednesday, and Israel retaliated with airstrikes that killed four Gaza fighters, Gaza officials said. (AP Photo/Majed Hamdan)

Furthermore, PCHR describes last night’s attack on the al-Salama Sports Club in great detail, but leaves out one critical point — the club is an Islamic Jihad facility. PCHR reports:

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 00:05 on Thursday, 25 August 2011, Israeli warplanes launched a missile on al-Salama Sports Club near Beit Lahia project’s market in the northern Gaza Strip. The attack resulted in the full destruction of the 3-storey building; the first floor includes a gym, the second floor includes the administration offices and a multi-use hall, while the third one includes a football and volleyball field established on a 1,000-square-meter area. Additionally, two Palestinian civilians were killed due to the attack, as they were in the garden of an adjacent house belonging to Abdul Rahman Mohammed al-Masri in the northwestern side of the club. The victims are: Salama Abdul Rahman al-Masri, 18, the son of the house’s owner, who died immediately; and Alaa ‘Adnan Mohammed al-Jakhbeer, 22, from Jabalya, who was accompanying al-Masri. Al-Jakhbeer suffered from a hemorrhage in the pelvis because of shrapnel and was transferred to the hospital, but he died two hours later. Additionally, 25 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children and seven women, sustained wounds and bruises due to the falling of smashed glass and stones at them. Moreover, extensive damages were caused to al-Huda Children Complex in Beit Lahia to the north of the club. The Complex established on an area of 1600 square meters consists of a kindergarten and a primary school. Dozens of houses surrounding the Club, three stores and three vehicles were damaged.

The two fatalities from the Islamic Jihad sports club, 18-year-old Salama al-Masri, the son of the owner of the Islamic Jihad facility, and 22-year-old Alaa ‘Adnan al-Jakhbeer, who was with him, both belong to the demographic (gender and age) of Palestinian combatant fatalities identified during Cast Lead.

Meanwhile, AP reports that two more fighters were killed today. It’s possible that they were killed after PCHR filed its report and closed up shop for the day, but will the group note the combatants’ deaths tomorrow?

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