Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Day thirteen of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ labelled a ‘massacre’


By Charlotte Armstrong - July 20, 2014
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Gaza] [Operation Protective Edge]

The remains of an ambulance shelled in the Shujaiya neighborhood | Yousef M. Aljamal

 

The thirteenth day of “Operation Protective Edge” saw Israel dramatically widen its ground offensive, sending tanks and troops into urban areas and causing thousands of panicked civilians to flee the Shujaiya neighbourhood of Gaza city. 

The heaviest bombardment yet

Dozens of men, women and children were killed in the early hours of Sunday as Israel indiscriminately shelled Shujaiya and the surrounding area. According to Ma’an News Agency, at least 66 people were killed and more than two hundred injured in this attack. 

Due to the obliteration of the neighbourhood more bodies are expected to be discovered. 

Despite Israel saying it had agreed to a two-hour ceasefire in the middle of the day, requested by the Red Cross to allow for the injured and dead to be evacuated, shelling and gunfire continued less than an hour after it was announced. Israel blamed continued Hamas rocket fire for the breakdown of the humanitarian truce. 

A Ma'an News Agency TV reporter, who was broadcasting live from Shujaiya, confirmed that Israeli shelling forced Palestinian ambulances and other rescue teams to leave the area immediately after the ceasefire went into effect. “Two hours is not long enough to do anything in this rubble,” he added. 

Cameraman Khaled Hammad and paramedic Fuad Jaber were among the dozens killed, in a strike on an ambulance, while they were trying to evacuate the wounded from Shujaiya. 

“The streets of Shujaiya are packed with dead bodies”

According to witness reports, the shelling started around 9pm Saturday and quickly grew in intensity. “The bombing was all around us - there was no light, no water, we didn't know what to do,” Ahmed, a Shujaiya resident testified. At 6am Sunday, Ahmed fled his home with his wife, sisters-in-law and their children.    

Another neighbourhood resident who returned to check on his house during the temporary ceasefire, Ibrahim Fayed al-Zayim, told Ma'an News Agency, "We woke up as the ceiling of the house fell on us. We fled on foot away from the sound of barbaric shelling not knowing where to go."

"The intensity and savageness of the shelling forced us to leave with whatever clothes we had on, with women wearing prayer clothes. Later good people gave us clothes to change," he added. 

Peter Beaumont, a journalist for the Guardian who is currently stationed in Gaza, confirmed in his article that, “At one stage, artillery and mortar rounds were hitting the outskirts of the city every five seconds.”

 “It is a massacre taking place in Shujaiya. It is a massacre with the full sense of the word, committed by Israel against innocent civilians, there are no armed men among us, the streets of Shujaiya are packed with dead bodies,” one resident, who managed to reach a hospital, told Al Jazeera

War crime

In a statement, the newly-inaugurated Palestinian government described the attack as a “war crime” which required immediate international intervention.  

“The Palestinian consensus government condemned in the strongest terms the heinous massacre committed by the Israeli occupation forces against innocent Palestinian civilians in the neighbourhood of Shejaiya,” it added. 

The office of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also issued a similar statement condemning the attack as a “massacre.”

This latest attack brings the total number of Palestinians killed in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza to more than 420.  Over 3,000 people have been injured and tens of thousands have fled their homes, with many seeking shelter in UN buildings. 

The IDF spokesperson has recently confirmed on Twitter that 13 soldiers from the Golani Brigade were killed overnight in Gaza, the largest single-day death toll in many years. This brings the total Israeli causalities to 21, including 18 soldiers and 3 civilians.    

 

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