Amnesty International conducted an investigation that found Israel targeted two Gaza homes with American-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), killing over 40 people, including 19 children. The group said the US has an “outsized role and responsibility” in using its leverage to curb civilian casualties in the besieged enclave.
“JDAM were used by the Israeli military in two deadly, unlawful air strikes on homes full of civilians in the occupied Gaza Strip. The organization found that these air strikes were either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks and is calling for them to be investigated as war crimes,” Amnesty International’s investigation found. “[Amnesty International] found distinctive fragments of the munition in the rubble of destroyed homes in central Gaza following two strikes that killed a total of 43 civilians – 19 children, 14 women, and 10 men. In both cases, survivors told Amnesty International there had been no warning of an imminent strike.”
JDAM are kits that turn bombs into guided munitions with warheads ranging from 500 to 2,000 pounds. The US has sent thousands of JDAMS to Tel Aviv as Israeli forces have unleashed historic destruction on Gaza.
Amnesty International said the first strike occurred in the opening days of the Israeli operations in the besieged enclave. “On October 10 at approximately [8:30] pm, an Israeli air strike killed 21 members of the al-Najjar family when the family home in Deir al-Balah was bombed. Three neighbors were also killed,” the report found.
The October 22 bombing of the Abu Mu’eileq family killed 18, all women and children. Amnesty International confirmed the destruction of both homes with satellite images.
The organization’s investigation noted that Israel has a history of committing such atrocities. “Indiscriminate strikes that kill or injure civilians constitute war crimes.” The report continues, “A longstanding pattern of reckless attacks that strike civilian objects, which Amnesty International has documented throughout Israel’s ongoing attacks, as well as during the 2008-9, 2014, and 2021 conflicts, may amount to directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects, which are also war crimes.”
Executive Director of Amnesty International Paul O’Brien said Washington must take action. “Amnesty International’s devastating research findings link US-made weapons to civilian killings. This demands urgent attention and action by President Biden and the US Congress,” he explained. “The US has an outsized role and responsibility to do everything in its power to ensure civilians are protected, including suspending the supply, sale, or transfer of arms until there is no longer a risk they will be used unlawfully.”
Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, stated Washington facilitates the deaths of entire families. “The fact that US-made munitions are being used by [the] Israeli military in unlawful attacks with deadly consequences for civilians should be an urgent wake-up call to the Biden administration. The US-made weapons facilitated the mass killings of extended families.” She added, “Two families have been decimated in these strikes, further proof that the Israeli military is responsible for unlawfully killing and injuring civilians in its bombardment of Gaza.”