Gaza rocket killed Palestinian Abdullah Abu Jaba, also seriously injured his brother

Death of father of 6 at Israeli construction site near border without functioning bomb shelter highlights urgency of providing solutions for foreign workers, says aid group

Abdullah Abu Jaba, a Palestinian laborer from the Gaza Strip who was killed by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, May 13, 2023. (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Abdullah Abu Jaba, a Palestinian laborer from the Gaza Strip who was killed by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, May 13, 2023. (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Palestinian laborer killed Saturday by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip was named as Abdullah Abu Jaba, from the Gaza Strip.

The same missile also seriously injured his brother, Hamad Abu Jaba.

Abdullah, 34, and Hamad, 39, were caught in the blast when the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group fired missiles at Israel in the closing hours of a conflict that lasted five days. A mediated ceasefire that came into effect later in the evening continued to hold Sunday.

Abdullah was married and had six children aged 11, 9, 7 5, 3, and a baby girl, Channel 12 reported Sunday. Hamad is a father of eight.

Abdullah was the fifth Palestinian killed by rockets fired from Gaza in the recent fighting, according to Israeli officials who said last week that failed PIJ rockets that crashed back into Gaza killed four civilians.

The rocket on Saturday hit an agricultural building site where the Abu Jaba brothers were working near the southern border town of Shokeda. An Israeli Bedouin man who was employed as a guard at the site was moderately wounded.

An Israeli man takes cover during an air raid siren warning of incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, Israel, May 12, 2023. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

The men were apparently at the location in violation of IDF Home Front Command instructions and there was no bomb shelter available for them to seek refuge, the Haaretz daily reported Sunday.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it treated two of the wounded men at the impact site, while the third was picked up by medics at the entrance to the city of Netivot.

They were taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. Abdullah Abu Jaba later died of his wounds, the hospital said.

Haaretz reported that permission to carry out “limited work” during bouts of rocket fire from Gaza is only granted if there is a bomb shelter available for the workers, and in accordance with specific guidelines from the IDF.

According to the report, no such guidelines were issued during the recent fighting, and the bomb shelter at the construction site was still being built, with only the walls in place.

In addition, there was no rocket siren alert in the area because it was in an open area, Hebrew media reports said.

However, the three men had apparently tried to seek cover after hearing explosions from the Iron Dome anti-missile system as it intercepted other incoming rockets. Iron Dome only targets missiles identified as heading toward populated areas.

An Iron Dome interceptor is launched after rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, May 13, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Kav LaOved, a labor rights group, pointed to the challenges faced by foreign workers in the country who are not familiar with safety precautions.

In a statement reported Sunday, the group said “migrant workers lack basic knowledge and accessibility that are available to Israeli workers in an emergency — they are not exposed to Israeli news sites, they have no family and acquaintances here, and they are not rehearsed in emergency situations.”

“In life-threatening situations, these workers are almost completely dependent on the goodwill of the employer,” the statement said.

“Since employers are not in a hurry to close workplaces, even in times of war, the Home Front Command must ensure that its dedicated app is accessible to employees,” the group urged, noting that the app which gives rocket warnings, is only available in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Russian.

In addition, the app cannot be installed on foreign cellphones.

“The Defense Ministry must understand the need for urgency, and act to provide the most vulnerable workers with the basic protection they need,” Kav LaOved said.

“Needless to say, enforcing against the violations of employers who endanger their vulnerable workers and abandon them on construction sites and in the fields is just as important and vital,” the group said in an apparent reference to the recent injuries.

During the recent fighting, six foreign workers were injured in areas near the Gaza Strip. A Thai agriculture worker and a Chinese worker were both moderately injured and two more from Moldova were lightly injured.

Trails of smoke are seen as rockets are fired from Gaza toward Israel, with one apparent misfire, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on May 13, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

According to Haaretz, 18,000 Gazans have permits to work in Israel. Hundreds were believed trapped in the country when the IDF launched its operation in response to rocket fire, and the border crossings were shut.

In addition to Abdullah Abu Jaba, one other person was killed in Israel — 80-year-old Inga Avramyan died in a rocket strike in the central city of Rehovot last week. Her grandson said she was trying to help her husband with disabilities reach shelter when the missile hit.

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