Text and photos by Anne Paq
Five Palestinian civilians, including three children, have been killed by Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip in the latest escalation of violence. Fifty-two others, including six women and 12 children, have been wounded, some of them very seriously.
Four of these deaths and 38 of the injuries resulted from an Israeli attack in al-Shoja’iya neighborhood east of Gaza City, which the Israeli army said came in response to an attack on a military vehicle. An investigation by PCHR concluded that the first strike hit Palestinian children playing football. As people rushed to help them, one of them carrying a white flag, they were reportedly hit by a second shell.
The deadly strike on al-Shoja’iya was followed by others in different locations around the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinian militants were killed on Saturday, bringing the death toll to six. Armed Palestinian factions launched dozens of rockets at southern Israel in response to the deadly attack, prompting additional shelling on Gaza from all sides, including on fishermen at sea and at five homes that were partially demolished in Rafah and Beit Lahiya.
On Saturday evening, Al Shifa hospital struggled to cope with the number of injuries. Ambulances were coming and going, people were screaming and crying, and blood was on the floor. The local police had to push back the nervous crowd to let the ambulances reach the gate of the hospital. Among the injured were many children, women and elderly civilians. The fear was palpable, with F16s flying overhead and news of more attacks continuing to come in.
The next day, a crowd waited in front of the morgue to accompany the victims to their grave. Some Palestinian relatives collapsed in grief. The bodies were taken first to their homes, for the women relatives say their last goodbyes. The photo below depicts the relative of one victim, 19-year-old Matar Abu Al-Atta. Matar’s mother gave birth to the infant in the photograph the night that Matar was killed.
This post originally named the woman in the photo above the mother of the infant. The post has been corrected to reflect the fact that she is a family member, but not the mother.