(Washington, DC) – Human Rights Watch today called on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the deaths by an Israeli airstrike of Akram al-Ghoul, 48, and Mahmoud Salah Ahman al-Ghoul, 17, the father and cousin of Human Rights Watch’s research consultant in Gaza. In a letter to Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, IDF Military Advocate General, Human Rights Watch urged the military to investigate the attack, make the results of the investigation public, and prosecute any persons it finds to have acted in serious violation of international humanitarian law.

On the afternoon of January 3, 2009, an Israeli bomb or missile from an F-16 jet fighter killed the two Gazans at the al-Ghoul farm, northwest of Beit Lahiya and close to Gaza’s border with Israel. Akram al-Ghoul was a judge who worked in the Palestinian Authority courts and resigned after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007. He is the father of Fares Akram, Human Rights Watch’s research consultant in Gaza. Mahmoud al-Ghoul, 17, was a student.