'Like a sadistic video game': Footage showing Israeli drone killing four Palestinians in Khan Younis sends shockwaves

'Like a sadistic video game': Footage showing Israeli drone killing four Palestinians in Khan Younis sends shockwaves
Footage showing Israeli missiles striking the group of young Palestinian men in Khan Younis, has drawn widespread condemnation.
3 min read
22 March, 2024
Khan Younis, heavily targeted by Israel's military onslaught, has witnessed countless tragedies since October 7 [Getty/file photo]

A number of Israeli drone strikes that targeted and killed a group of young men in Khan Younis have triggered widespread outrage.

A video of the incident, believed to have taken place in early February, began circulating on social media this week, after it was obtained and published by Al Jazeera Arabic.

The footage shows four young men in Khan Younis walking to check on their homes, in the Al-Sika area of the city.

The group of boys can be seen walking among rubble and along a road visibly bulldozed by Israeli armored vehicles.

Al Jazeera reported that, despite the withdrawal of the vehicles, Israeli forces continued to spy on Palestinians using drones

As the group can be seen continuing their walk, the footage shows a missile suddenly striking them, killing at least two immediately. The graphic footage showed the victims' bodies blown apart soon after.

Moments later, one of the remaining young men can be seen running away from the scene.

However, Israeli missiles struck the remaining young men, also killing them.Sinc

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The video footage clearly showed the group of young men were unarmed and posed no threat or danger to anyone.

The footage was obtained by Al Jazeera via the Israeli drone, reportedly hovering over the Gaza Strip before 7 October, the Qatari broadcaster said.

Journalist and producer Ahmed Shihab-Eldin called the shocking incident "an obscene indictment of Israel’s genocide", while Palestinian writer Yara Hawari said Israel’s actions showed that "their depravity knows no end".

Many online drew parallels between February’s incident and the killing of four young boys from the same family as they played football on a beach in Gaza in 2014.

That incident drew widespread condemnation, yet no one within the Israeli army was never charged, having declared it to be a "tragic accident".

Palestinian-American human rights lawyer Noura Erakat said that “Israel’s automated warfare has turned our murder into a sadistic video game. This is systematic. Beyond what IHL imagined. No one is safe."

Since the beginning of its brutal military onslaught in Gaza, the Israeli army has repeatedly targeted Khan Younis, resulting in over 32,000 deaths, mostly among women and children.

Since 7 October, Israel has launched a sea and land offensive, targeting refugee camps, schools, hospitals, and residential buildings, killing tens of thousands of civilians.

Israel’s atrocities in the enclave have been described as akin to genocide and war crimes by several nations and rights groups. South Africa took Israel to the International Court of Justice in January over such accusations.

"Maybe there’s someone looking for these men. A mother, father, siblings or neighbours. Maybe a wife and children. Whoever launched the missiles knows they're dead. And whoever is watching this video now knows that Israel killed them," the Al Jazeera commentator said.