Lethal Warning: The Killing of Luai Kahil and Amir al-Nimrah
On the 14 July 2018, in Gaza City, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, two Palestinian teenagers climbed onto the rooftop of the al-Katibah building. A short time later the pair, Luai Kahil and Amir al-Nimrah, were killed by a missile fired from an Israeli aircraft.
The missile was one of a series of four to hit the building in short order, before a series of much larger strikes arrived shortly after, substantially damaging the building and its surroundings.
The series of four were part of a process known as ‘roof knocking’, whereby a series of ‘warning strikes’—inaccurately characterised by the IDF as loud but non-lethal munitions—is intended to communicate to civilians in the area that they should evacuate, as a larger series of strikes is incoming.
Forensic Architecture (FA) was commissioned by the Israeli NGO B’Tselem to investigate the circumstances of the boys’ death.
After the attack, the IDF published, through its Twitter account, a video of the attack. As we studied that video sequence, however, we noticed that the footage had been manipulated, and that footage of the fatal warning strike had been replaced by footage of a later strike, from a different angle.
Using available open source material, and material from local CCTV cameras, we established a precise timeline of the incident, in order to demonstrate which of the strikes had killed Kahil and al-Nimrah, and to expose the IDF’s manipulation of its own video footage.
We also constructed a 3D model of the Al-Katibah building in order to exactly locate the strikes, and the site where the boys were killed. Footage captured by civilians revealed a fragmentation pattern on the roof consistent with the explosion of a munition loaded with shrapnel—specifically designed as a lethal weapon.
Forensic Architecture team
Eyal Weizman (Principal Investigator)
Nicholas Masterton (Project Coordinator)
Chris Cobb-Smith (munitions expert)
Human Rights Watch (munitions expert)
Israeli ‘Warning’ Shot Killed Two Boys in Gaza, Rights Groups Say | New York Times, 17 December 2018
L’armée israélienne a camouflé le meurtre de deux adolescents gazaouis | Mediapart.fr, 17 December 2018