There’s a makeshift shrine like none different outdoors the Ayoub household dwelling in southern Lebanon.
Underneath a big image of three little women and their grandmother is a shiny pink and white wreath of flowers.
But there are additionally black charred youngsters’s footwear, a singed pencil case and blackened schoolbooks, with the perimeters of every web page burnt.
There’s a piece of what might be a part of a automobile bonnet speckled with shrapnel holes sitting amongst two fluffy toy geese and a pink teddy bear.
This is all that is still of an Israeli strike on the automobile carrying the three sisters, their mom and grandmother.
The household’s uncle Samir Ayoub is kneeling down in entrance of the shrine gathering up the scraps of burned college paper.
“I’m keeping them because there may be DNA on them, or blood or something that the international courts can use to prosecute the people who did this,” he says.
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He’s not the one one decided to get justice for what occurred to his household. Human rights investigators are additionally gathering proof to press for an unbiased legal investigation into what they are saying is a warfare crime which happened on 5 November in Aynata in southern Lebanon.
“We found no evidence of any military target nearby,” says Ramzi Kaiss, from Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Lebanon.
He provides: “We have found this strike is unlawful because it violates the obligation that all parties should have to protect non-combatants.”
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF), often called the Israeli Occupying Force (IOF) in Lebanon, launched drone footage on social media early on 6 November, the day after the strike.
The collection of movies and stills of strikes that they posted appeared to point the assaults had been in Gaza. There isn’t any point out of Lebanon in any respect.
Among the grouping of hits, there was one video of an assault on a lone automobile shifting alongside a street.
The Israeli army stated on the time that they had additionally hit a person known as Jamal Musa who they are saying was liable for the particular safety operations inside Hamas.
It was not clear which strike they had been referring to within the group of assaults they posted collectively on social media.
The Sky News Data and Forensics crew managed to geolocate the footage to Lebanon – and the identical street from Yarin to Aynata on which the household automobile containing the 5 girls and women had travelled.
Following our repeated requests for info and after a number of exchanges, the IDF then instructed us that it had hit what it known as a “suspicious vehicle” with “several terrorists” inside however it’s now investigating whether or not some ‘uninvolved civilians’ had been additionally within the automobile.
It didn’t give us any particulars about who the “several terrorists” may need been.
Ramzi Kaiss, from Human Rights Watch, says the admission by the IDF that it had carried out the strike indicated a “disrespect” for worldwide humanitarian regulation.
The organisation insists that beneath humanitarian regulation, if there’s any doubt, no assault ought to have been carried out and there must be proof the goal presents imminent hazard.
HRW is now calling for worldwide intervention and stress to make sure humanitarian regulation is upheld.
“Israel on several occasions,” Kaiss says, “has failed to conduct credible investigations and hold individuals accountable for war crimes or other violations so Israel’s allies UK and US and others should press for accountability on this apparent war crime”.
The household of girls and women had determined they wanted to lastly go away their dwelling on the southern border with Israel after weeks of slowly escalating assaults between Israel and the Iran-backed Lebanese group, Hezbollah.
Many of their neighbours had already left the world for safer areas away from the border.
The household’s tragic journey
The Sky News crew went on the identical journey the household took with Samir Ayoub, their uncle and a journalist and political analyst from the Russian broadcaster RT.
He’s lived in Russia for 33 years however had returned to southern Lebanon to assist his sister Samira relocate together with her three grandchildren; 14-year-old Rames, Talin, aged 12 and 10-year-old Lee-Anne, in addition to her daughter-in-law, the ladies’ mom, Houda.
Samir was escorting them in a separate automobile from their dwelling in Yareen. He instructed us on the way in which to satisfy them, he was held up due to fixed bombings alongside the route.
When he met up with them, the household, travelling in two automobiles now, selected to cease at a nook store within the village of Aynata to choose up some water and snacks earlier than their journey to Beirut.
CCTV outdoors the store reveals them getting into the store after which Houda, the mom, and 10-year-old Lee-Anne leaving and loading water bottles into the again.
Samir could be seen rising on the right-hand facet of the CCTV image to assist them.
As the automobile pulls away, you may nearly catch sight of a girl carrying a black hijab within the passenger entrance seat (which Samir says was the place grandmother Samira was sitting whereas Houda was on the steering wheel) and little figures within the rear of the automobile seat displaying the three little women sitting behind them.
He says he drove off first, in his automobile and had them in his rear-view mirror for the subsequent 1.7km (one mile). He had already turned the nook of the street when he heard an enormous blast.
He stopped and went again and when he seemed not far away the automobile had been blown off the street and into the close by subject and was already burning.
He ran down and says he noticed the ladies within the again who appeared already lifeless alongside along with his sister, their grandmother Samira.
Their mom Houda was half out of the automobile and Samir pulled her to security. “I could see the children melting in the flames and all I wanted to do was try to stop their mother from seeing her own children burning,” he instructed us as we stood subsequent to the incinerated automobile wreck.
“She didn’t say help me, or rescue me,” he stated. “She just said I want my kids, where are my kids, help me get them out of the car.”
Even as we spoke, an Israeli drone circled above us all the time. Samir pointed upwards and instructed us: “They were watching us on the day of the attack.”
He provides: “I even told the girls to play around outside of the car before we set off so the drone would see the vehicle was only carrying children.”
Vehicle grew to become an inferno
Pictures filmed by eyewitnesses present that after the strike, the automobile was an inferno.
One of the shopkeepers who’d seen the household earlier than the assault says they’d appeared excited. When they heard the explosion, one in every of them raced to the scene as a result of he recognised the placement was within the neighborhood of his own residence.
Hassan Kawsan stated the automobile was already on hearth when he arrived. He described how tried to place the flames out however the extinguisher wasn’t working correctly.
By the time he returned with a functioning one, the automobile was engulfed in flames.
That night time, native tv filmed Samir along with his shirt nonetheless coated in blood after pulling Houda out of the automobile.
He was shouting on the cameras, addressing the Israeli army: “Are these children terrorists?” he demanded to know.
He desires the International Criminal Court to analyze and is urging European international locations to assist to make sure somebody is held accountable for what occurred to his household.
The loss of life of a Reuters reporter
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has carried out an investigation into the loss of life of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah who was killed on 13 October, just a few weeks earlier than the ladies and their grandmother – this time in Alma Shaab, Lebanon.
The group concluded the “targeted strike” got here from the Israeli route. “According to the ballistic analysis carried out by RSF, the shots came from the east of where the journalists were standing; from the direction of the Israeli border,” RSF stated.
Jodie Ginsberg, from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), instructed Sky News: “We want to see an independent investigation into the killing of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah in an attack which also severely injured several other journalists.
“A report by CPJ in May this yr confirmed a decades-long sample during which – previous to this newest warfare – at the very least 20 journalists have been killed by members of the Israel Defence Forces over the previous 22 years and the place no-one has ever been charged or held liable for these deaths.
Journalists are civilians, not targets and people liable for their killings have to be held accountable.”
Referring to the incident in which Issam Abdallah was killed, an IDF statement said on the afternoon of 13 October, Hezbollah militants had launched attacks at several positions along the blue line, firing an anti-tank missile that struck the security fence of Israel near the community of Hanita.
The IDF said: “Immediately following the anti-tank missile launch, IDF troopers suspected a terrorist infiltration into Israeli territory and, in response, used tank and artillery hearth to stop the infiltration.
“A report was received that during the incident, journalists were injured in the area. The incident is under review.”
Reporter’s pal speaks about incident for first time
We’ve spoken to one in every of Issam Abdallah’s shut buddies who was additionally working alongside him on the day.
Elie Brakhya, who’s talking in regards to the incident publicly for the primary time, is a veteran cameraman of quite a few wars, together with Ukraine, Syria, Yemen in addition to Lebanon.
He tells us from his dwelling in Beirut how the group of seven journalists had gone to the hilltop place in Alma Shaab on 13 October. The Israeli army and the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah have been buying and selling hearth throughout the border between the 2 international locations since 7 October.
The group of journalists had gone to report the change of fireside and had been from a variety of media shops together with Associated Press, AFP, Reuters and Al Jazeera, Elie’s employers. They had been all clearly identifiable as media and had been all carrying flak jackets and helmets marked with Press badges.
One of the autos parked proper subsequent to the group had press markings too. They positioned themselves the place they may clearly be seen on the hilltop. “People could see us for miles around,” Elie says.
He says drones had been circulating for more often than not they had been there in addition to Israeli Apache helicopters. Several of the group had performed dwell broadcasts from the place they usually’d been there for greater than an hour.
Issam had posted on his social media account, carrying his press-marked physique armour. Elie took a selfie of the 2 buddies collectively, once more carrying their press-marked physique armour.
“It was the last picture of the two of us,” he says. The group of journalists, he says, was relaxed and simply going about their work when the strike hit.
“There was no whistle of anything coming from behind us,” Elie says. “We are experienced but not experts but it felt like it came from in front and above us.
“I noticed immediately Issam was lifeless,” he adds. “He took the direct hit.”
Several of the journalists had been badly injured and the buddies raced round making an attempt to assist one another. Live streams of a number of cameras recorded the blast and the rapid response.
One, a younger journalist from AFP, could be heard on digital camera shouting she could not really feel her legs. They feared a fast second strike, so time was treasured. “There’s always a second strike,” Elie says. He ran to his automobile to attempt to find some tourniquets to assist his colleagues when the second strike occurred simply in entrance of his automobile.
The entire of his left facet was hit by the blast and he feared he’d misplaced his shoulder completely.
“When I looked I couldn’t see my shoulder,” he says. The helmet he was carrying was blown off completely and his left ear was rendered deaf instantly.
On his proper hand, his thumb was blown off and he remembers gathering it up and holding it to his physique.
His legs had been showered with dozens of shrapnel and he could not transfer. He realised he was beneath his automobile which was already burning. “Then someone pulled me out from under the vehicle and I just saw it burst into flames,” he tells us.
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When Elie’s buddies later visited him in hospital, they apologised to him as a result of he was so coated in blood they did not recognise him on the time and thought they had been pulling a corpse from beneath the automobile.
He checked the timecodes on his digital camera later and located there have been 37 seconds between the 2 strikes.
“We were targeted, for certain,” he says. “There’s no chance we weren’t. Everyone could see us with our row of five tripods for miles.”
Lebanon blames Israel for double assault
The Lebanese army, which carried out an investigation into the incident, the Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Reporters Without Borders agree with him and blame the Israelis for the double assault.
“We’re not kids. We are professionals. We know what we are doing and what to do and where to go. This is our job,” Elie says.
“We know there are dangers. Of course, there’s a price you have to pay… we are paying our share but there’s a responsibility about this and there are international laws which should protect us.”
Astonishingly he says this was the second assault inside just a few weeks that he and his crew have come beneath in Lebanon. Nobody was damage within the first occasion.
In a 3rd assault on journalists (which he was not concerned in), once more the cameras had been rolling dwell whereas a bunch of journalists in Yaroun on the southern border with Israel broadcast.
Again, it was a double hit with seconds to spare. Despite autos being set alight, remarkably solely one of many group was injured.
The Lebanese authorities have stated they intend to file a grievance with the UN Security Council over what they name Issam’s “deliberate killing” by Israel.
Lebanon’s National News Agency says the international ministry has instructed Lebanon’s everlasting mission to the UN to submit a grievance.
These acts, the company attributed to the international ministry, “constitute a blatant attack and a crime against freedom of opinion and the press, human rights, and international humanitarian law, by easily killing unarmed journalists who are victims of their desire to convey the truth, defend it with the lenses of their cameras and pens, and transfer them to the tape of the repeated Israeli attacks in southern Lebanon”.