Israel carried out indirect chemical attack on Gaza in 2021: Report
The attack resulted in numerous short-term and long-term health consequences for local residents
By News Desk - May 31 2022

Israeli airstrike on Gaza on 14 May 2021. (Photo credit: MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)

At the height of the Israeli war against Gaza in 2021, an agrochemical warehouse was hit by an Israeli strike, according to a report by the non-government organization, Al-Haq, which labeled the strike an “indirect chemical attack.”

On 15 May 2021, Israeli occupation forces used incendiary shells to target the Khudair Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Tools warehouse in northern Gaza, which ignited a fire that burned hundreds of tons of fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, and nylons, leading to a toxic gas plume that covered an area of 5.7 square kilometers.

Map depicting the size of the toxic smoke plume rising from the fire that engulfed several agrochemical and plastic products. (Photo credit: Al-Haq and Forensic Architecture)

“The shelling of the warehouse, with knowledge of the presence of toxic chemicals stored therein, is tantamount to chemical weapons through indirect means. Such acts are clearly prohibited … and prosecutable under the Rome Statute of the international criminal court,” the report declared.

The attack resulted in numerous short-term and long-term health consequences for local residents. Speaking to The Guardian, munitions expert Chris Cobb-Smith stated that there is no justification for the use of incendiary shells in an urban environment.

One of the locals who suffered health consequences following the toxic gas cloud was Israa Khudair, a 20-year-old Palestinian woman, who reported a miscarriage in the fifth month of her pregnancy, about eight weeks after the attack occurred.

“I have had skin rashes since and so have most people here. We washed the house five times, and the furniture, but the smell stayed. It was like an oil on the walls … eventually in the winter the rain washed a lot of it away from the rubble of the warehouse,” her husband Ihab said. “We are worried for our health now. One of my cousins, who is only 19, and my aunt also, had cancer recently and we think it is related to what happened here.”

In total, more than 230 Palestinians were killed, which included 65 children, during the height of the Israeli attack on Gaza.

Despite the heavy civilian losses, the war was considered a failure for the Israeli military establishment, as Palestinian resistance groups were able to launch retaliatory strikes deep into the heart of Israel, including Tel Aviv.

Hamas military commander Mohammed al-Sinwar revealed on 27 May that during the 11-day Sayf al Quds (Sword of Jerusalem) battle of 2021, Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were present in their joint command room.

Al-Sinwar noted that their allies in the Resistance Axis, namely Hezbollah and IRGC, supplied them with intelligence on sensitive Israeli targets.

“We dealt the biggest slap in the face by striking Tel Aviv, and we broke the stature of the center of injustice,” Al-Sinwar declared.

The Hamas military commander also revealed for the first time that at the very end of the operation, the resistance had a plan of launching 362 missiles at 14 locations, including Haifa, Tel Aviv, Eilat, and Dimona, the site of Israel’s semi-secret nuclear weapons program.

The plan was never carried out and a ceasefire was announced.

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