Rafah: Black Friday


Report on the war operations of 1-4 August 2014, in Rafah, Gaza

The Black Friday report is a collaboration between Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International. It aims to provide a detailed reconstruction of the events in Rafah, Gaza, from 1-4 August 2014, based primarily on material found on social media. 

Because our investigation team was denied access to Gaza, Forensic Architecture developed a number of techniques aimed to reconstruct the events from hundreds of images and videos recorded by professional and citizen journalists. The images were thereafter located in a 3D model of Rafah.  This resulted in the Image Complex, a device that allowed us to explore the spatial and temporal connections between the various sources and reconstruct the events as they unfolded. 

Forensic Architecture has also located witness testimonies, delivered after the war, within this 3D model and corroborated the reported events with other audio-visual material. Where the metadata of image material was missing or inadequate, we used time indicators such as observed shadows or bomb clouds to locate sources in space and time.

The report is a part of a long term collaboration between Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International and has also resulted in the Gaza Platform.

Forensic Architecture team

  • Eyal Weizman (principal investigator)
  • Christina Varvia (research, methodology, analysis, animation)
  • Nick Axel (research, coordination, interactive report, web editor)
  • Francesco Sebregondi (project management, cartography)
  • Gustav A. Toftgaard (cartography, 3D modelling)
  • Camila E. Sotomayor (research, media analysis, coordination)
  • Vere Van Gool (research, media analysis, 3D modelling)
  • Dorette Panagiotopoulou (3D modelling)
  • Rosario Güiraldes (cartography)
  • Hania Halabi (research)
  • Jacob Burns (research)
  • Susan Schuppli (advisor)

External Collaborators

  • Shourideh C. Molavi (fieldwork, legal research)
  • Jamon Van Den Hoek (remote sensing)
  • Ana Naomi de Souza (video production, voiceover)
  • Mohammed Abdullah (fieldwork)
  • Kent Klich (fieldwork, photography)
  • John Pines (satellite image analysis)
  • Chris Cobb-Smith and Marc Garlasco (advice on military analysis)
  • Felix Kalmenson and Eric Salitsky (3D modelling volunteers)
  • Mahmoud AbuRahma
  • Angela Gaff
  • Jonathan Littell

Workshop with UCL Bartlett MA Urban Design

  • Adrian Lahoud (Director)
  • Nick Axel (course convener, coordination)
  • Camila E. Sotomayor (coordination)
  • Platon Issaias, Samaneh Moafi, Sam Jacoby, Godofredo Pereira (tutors)
  • Nasser Alemadi, Yuting Chen, Prutha Chiddarwar, Luxi Deng, Ni Ding, Kailun Fan, Yan Geng, Stella Habipi, Shan He, Shucheng Huang, Yanti Jiang, Ziyang Jiang, Yongzhou Liang, Zhongge Lin, Bingjie Liu, Bingqian Liu, Liting Lu, Rebecca Macklis, Nadia Mendez Guevara, Akarachai Padlom, Androulla Papadopoulou, Longning Qi, Yuanyuan Qiu, Eleftherios Sergios, Jana Shamseddine, Evdokia Spyropoulou, Orn-Uma Sukhaboon, Sihan Wan, Haochen Wang, Xinqi Wang, Zeqing Wang, Jian Wang, Aurelien Wasem, Zhiwen Wei, Dan Wu, Lumeng Xiao, Yiwen Xu, Mengyi Xu, Qinhe Yi, Bolin Zhang, Yulun Zheng, Hang Zou (students)

Collaborating Organizations

  • Amnesty International
  • Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights
  • Amnesty International Israel


The Strike on Al Tannur Neighbourhood.  
Methodologies developed for the analysis of footage in Rafah, 1 August 2014 include: geo-synching, plume analysis, shadow analysis, metadata correction, the image complex. © Forensic Architecture

Remote Sensing - Crater Detection
A video animation demonstrating the methodology used by Forensic Architecture to detect the craters left by shelling and bombing. © Forensic Architecture. Based upon an NDVI analysis of Pléiades satellite images taken on 30 July 2014 at 11.40am and 14 August 2014 at 11.54am. © CNES 2014, Distribution AIRBUS DS, all rights reserved.
Remote Sensing - Tank Paths
A video that reconstructs the paths Israeli tanks took in their incursions into the Gaza Strip during the conflict in 2014. © Forensic Architecture. Based upon a Panchromatic remote sensing analysis of Pléiades and satellite images taken on 30 July 2014 at 11.40am and 14 August 2014 at 11.54am & Landsat 8 satellite images taken on 30 July 2014 and 8 August 2014. © CNES 2014, Distribution AIRBUS DS, Landsat 8, all rights reserved.

Close-ups of a Pléiades satellite image, taken on 1 August 2014 at 11.39am, reveal Israeli tanks as they move into position near Salah al-Din Street, Rafah. They are here marked within the boxes drawn with red-dotted lines. © Forensic Architecture and CNES 2014, Distribution AIRBUS DS, all rights reserved.

A Pléiades satellite image of eastern Rafah, taken on 14 August 2014 at 11.50am, is marked with air strike craters (large red dots) and artillery craters (small red dots) and the resulting intensity of attacks (shades of red). © CNES 2014, Distribution AIRBUS DS, all rights reserved.




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