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PHOTOS: Scenes of devastation from deadliest day in Gaza

Israel bombards the Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiyeh, killing at least 66, with the toll expected to rise. 

Photos by: Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org
Text by: Noa Yachot

[WARNING: This post includes graphic photos.]

Israel stepped up its air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip on Sunday, resulting in the deadliest day since the assault  began on July 8. A total of 87 Palestinians were reported dead, with the toll expected to rise. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were also killed Sunday while fighting inside Gaza.

A vast majority of the Palestinian deaths were in Shujaiyeh, a neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. Israeli artillery and air strikes pounded the neighborhood throughout the night and into Sunday, turning it into a scene of utter devastation, with entire buildings flattened and bodies strewn in the streets.

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, causing over 60 casualties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014.  (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee Shujaiyeh after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, killing more than 60 people and wounding hundreds, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Palestinian health officials said that at least 66 Palestinians were killed in Shujaiyeh, bringing the Palestinian death toll in the current round of fighting – billed by Israel “Operation Protective Edge” – to roughly 425, most of them civilians. A total of 18 Israeli soldiers have been killed, along with two Israeli civilians.

Among those killed in Shujaiyeh were at least 17 children, 14 women, and four elderly people. Those numbers could rise, as rescue teams could not safely complete the task of evacuating the dead and wounded.

Ambulances, care and civilians fleeing seen at the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, causing over 60 casualties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014.  (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Ambulances and civilians in Shujaiyeh, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Thousands of Shujaiyeh residents fled the area throughout Sunday. UNRWA reported Sunday evening that more than 80,000 Gazans had sought refugee in temporary shelters operated by the United Nations agency.

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, causing over 60 casualties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014.  (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee Shujaiyeh after Israeli tanks invaded the area, July 20, 2014. As of Sunday, more than 80,000 Gazans were in temporary UN shelters. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The International Committee of the Red Cross negotiated a two-hour humanitarian ceasefire – applicable only to Shujaiyeh – to allow for the retrieval of the dead and the evacuation of the wounded and those trapped in the neighborhood. Shelling, however, continued during the lull, as Israel claimed its forces were shot at.

As a result, much of the rescue operation took place under fire. The ICRC later expressed concern for those trapped in the area, and said it was working to coordinate safe access to the area.

Israel initially said that its ground incursion, now on its fourth day, would be limited in nature, intended to destroy Hamas-built tunnels leading into Israel. However, Israeli forces have since penetrated deep into urban areas. A military official told Buzzfeed on Sunday that Israel was broadening the offensive “far beyond its original parameters” and that it could continue for “several weeks.”

A Palestinian killed during the latest round of Israeli attacks against Al Shaja'ia is seen under the rubble of a house, Gaza City, July 20, 2014.  (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian killed during Israel’s assault on Shujaiyeh, seen under the rubble of a house, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A relative kisses a body of a family member at the Al Shifa hospital as more bodies arrive from the Al-Shejaiya area, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

A relative kisses the body of a family member at the Shifa Hospital, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Relatives mourn on family members at the Al Shifa hospital as more bodies arrive from the Shejaiya area, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans mourn their family members at the Shifa Hospital, as more bodies arrive from Shujaiyeh, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, causing over 60 casualties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014.  (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, causing over 60 casualties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, causing over 60 casualties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014.  (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee Shujaiyeh area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, killing over 60 people and wounding hundreds, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Medic's body lay at the Al-Shifa hospital, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A wounded medic lying at the Shifa Hospital, July 20, 2014. Two medics and one journalist were killed by Israeli forces in the assault on Shujaiyeh. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Medics at the Al-Shifa hospital mourn their colleague targeted and killed in Shejaiya neighbourhood earlier today, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Medics at the Shifa Hospital mourn their colleagues killed in Shujaiyeh , July 20, 2014. Two medics and one journalist were killed in the attack. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Relatives mourn on family members at the Al Shifa hospital as more bodies arrive from the Shejaiya area, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Relatives mourn family members at the Shifa Hospital as more bodies arrive from Shujaiyeh, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Relatives mourn on family members at the Al Shifa hospital as more bodies arrive from the Shejaiya area, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Relatives mourn family members at the Shifa Hospital, July 20, 2014. (Anne PaqActivestills.org)

Hospital workers tend to dead bodies at Shifa Hospital, July 20, 2014 (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Hospital workers tend to dead bodies at Shifa Hospital, July 20, 2014 (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The body of a young girl lays at the Shifa Hospital, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

The body of a young girl lies at the Shifa Hospital, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

 

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavily, causing over 60 casualties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014.  (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee Shujaiyeh after Israeli tanks invaded the area, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Gazans stand outside Al Shifa hospital, July 20, 2014.  (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans gather outside Shifa Hospital after fleeing Shujaiyeh, July 20, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Related:
WATCH: Dozens of bodies strewn in the streets of Gaza
How can you possibly oppose this war?
Gaza war diary: ‘A second of silence, then the bombs go off’

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    COMMENTS

    1. Antony

      barbaric – Rhetoric – Savagery

      Reply to Comment
    2. Mary

      They were warned by the Israeli army before – why didn’t they leave the area?
      Maybe Hamas didn’t let them?
      I’m confused!

      Reply to Comment
      • Sheree

        And where were they suppose to go?

        Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        They have literally nowhere to go. And why should they have to leave their homes in the first place? So Israel can have their holy crusade against Hamas?

        Reply to Comment
        • I would simply get the hell out of there for my family’s sake. Are you kidding? That’s not the time to grandstand for principles. They are warning us, giving us a chance, before they bomb us and our children off the planet. What more do you need? Hamas does not give a hoot for its citizens; all they care is about satisfying their thirst for killing Israelis, even if it kills thousands of Palestinians.

          Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            Excuse me, but you can’t just “get the hell out of there”. What are you, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz who can teleport herself by clicking together her red heels?

            Israel weapons have a certain way of finding Gaza civilians with no connection to Hamas, like those four children playing soccer on the beach. Why take the chance of being blown to smithereens? Is that what you want for your children?

            Reply to Comment
        • Sonnehuhr

          False. Palestinians can move to other parts of Gaza. When a million Israelis were displaced from their homes in the 2006 war with Hezbollah, the Israelis found refuge with Jews in other parts of Israel. Lebanese refugees found refuge with other Lebanese who were also under attack. The fact that Palestinians have been fleeing to other parts of Gaza shows that they have places to flee to, if they should wish to flee.

          It should also be noted that under the Geneva Conventions Palestinians can set up a protected zone for refugees by demilitarizing the area. The Palestinians chose not to, preferring dead bodies to protection. It looks better for Al-jazeera tv.

          Reply to Comment
          • sa

            Wow! It’s amazing how the twisted mind of a fascist works! Thanks for the demonstration!

            Reply to Comment
          • Oren Aviv

            I understand you…your head must be more dense than how densely populated Gaza is.

            Israel proper is quite unpopulated. Majority of arabs refugees are actually living outside of Israel. Gaza is on the other hand overpopulated, a big giant internment camp, prison.

            There is no where to flee or go. The resources are limited. Moving 100 000 people from their homes and making them SQ refugee without allowing resources in to help them is impossible..what should they eat? Grass? There isn’t any grass there, it’s bombed away.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Stephen

      I will pray for all that as been lost god our lord loves us all when are we going to see that and stop the killing on both side I feel sorry for all I keep praying for you

      Reply to Comment
      • Jesus

        God has done enough already. Please don’t ask for any more help.

        Reply to Comment
    4. Sonnehuhr

      Did you notice that there are only pictures of Palestinian suffering? There are no pictures of Palestinian fighters fighting or shooting shoulder propelled rockets, missiles, guns or anti-tank weapons at Israeli targets. The pictures do not show any of the many tunnels uncovered in the ground operation, including the ten tunnels discovered in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood. No pictures of rockets being shot are shown.

      Maan News reported Palestinian militants running in the streets between houses. Militants were reported preventing journalists from seeing their positions during the temporary ceasefire. CTV news reporter reported seeing militants dressed in women’s clothing carrying a weapon. Israeli news sources reported the firing of weapons from houses and other buildings against Israeli soldiers, including an anti tank weapon fired from a building which killed 7 Israeli soldiers in an ambush in a civilian area.

      Yet there are no pictures of the acts of war which have brought Israeli soldiers to the neighborhood.

      There is no balance in 972mag and no attempt at balance in its articles.

      Reply to Comment
      • bright lights

        That would spoil the narrative you know.

        Reply to Comment
      • Michael Kaye

        You have missed the point Sonnehuhr. Is it is about the continued illegal occupation of Palestinians.

        The illegal occupation and theft of Palestinian land is not recognized by anyone outside of Israel.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sonnehuhr

          There is no occupation in Gaza. In 2005 Israel pulled out of Gaza and left a high tech greenhouse business to serve as a footprint for self sufficiency and expansion of agriculture in Gaza. The Gazans tore down the greenhouses and used the former settlements to fire rockets at Israel.

          What it is about is the refusal of the Arabs to accept the existence of a Jewish state in the middle east. Hamas has a Charter which calls for the destruction of Israel and a genocide against the Jews. Hamas leaders like Ismail Haniyeh and Fathi Hammad continually reaffirm the right of the Palestinians to destroy Israel and kill Jews. This is the cause of the conflict as it was in 1947, 1967, 1973 and today.

          Reply to Comment
          • David

            Under international law, the Gaza Strip is still belligerently occupied by Israel.

            To quote the independent and respected human rights organization Human Rights Watch regarding Israel’s so-called “withdrawal” from the Gaza Strip in 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

            In effect, by controlling its entrances, exits, air space and sea access, Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into the world’s largest outdoor prison. To quote British Prime Minister David Cameron: “[The Gaza Strip] is a prison camp.”

            According to international law, Israel Has A Duty To Protect Palestinians Living Under Occupation.

            Military occupation is a recognized status under international law and since 1967, the international community has designated the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as militarily occupied. As long as the occupation continues, Israel has the right to protect itself and its citizens from attacks by Palestinians who reside in the occupied territories. However, Israel also has a duty to maintain law and order, also known as “normal life,” within territory it occupies. This obligation includes not only ensuring but prioritizing the security and well-being of the occupied population. That responsibility and those duties are enumerated in Occupation Law.

            Occupation Law is part of the laws of armed conflict; it contemplates military occupation as an outcome of war and enumerates the duties of an occupying power until the peace is restored and the occupation ends. To fulfill its duties, the occupying power is afforded the right to use police powers, or the force permissible for law enforcement purposes. As put by the U.S. Military Tribunal during the Hostages Trial (The United States of America vs. Wilhelm List, et al.)

            “International Law places the responsibility upon the commanding general for preserving order, punishing crime, and protecting lives and property within the occupied territory. His power in accomplishing these ends is as great as his responsibility.”

            The extent and breadth of force constitutes the distinction between the right to self-defense and the right to police. Police authority is restricted to the least amount of force necessary to restore order and subdue violence. In such a context, the use of lethal force is legitimate only as a measure of last resort. Even where military force is considered necessary to maintain law and order, such force is circumscribed by concern for the civilian non-combatant population. The law of self-defense, invoked by states against other states, however, affords a broader spectrum of military force. Both are legitimate pursuant to the law of armed conflict and therefore distinguished from the peacetime legal regime regulated by human rights law.

            Reply to Comment
          • arb

            HRW would like this to be true. It isn’t. Even Hamas has said it governs this territory and there is no occupation. Look it up, Mahmoud al Zahar said this openly and publicly.

            Reply to Comment
          • Son

            Yes there is No occupation in GAZA. Israel don’t need to occupy the largest Concentration Camp the world has seen israel only need to guard it and maybe control it’s population look at who Israel is killing the most. young children because they know the old once will die soon. There’s nothing Hitler has done to the the Jews. That israel hasn’t done to the Palestinians.

            Reply to Comment
          • Dr. G. M. Mir

            Might is right, this is what Israelis are acting upon. The cause of conflict is altogether different, I feel it is internal agony. Every religion teaches peace, Palestinians are deprived of their rights. Arabs can play their role in peace process, but they are virtually slaves of Americans.

            Reply to Comment
      • Goldmarx

        There are no Israeli civilians suffering as of yet (unless you count pacing back and forth in shelters!)

        True, 972 did not print pictures of Israeli military provocations that caused Hamas to fire in the first place. Perpetrators don’t linger to have their pictures aken; victims have no choice in the matter.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sonnehuhr

          I guess if you close your eyes to Jewish suffering, you could even deny that the holocaust happened. Millionsof Israelis are suffering. Hamas rockets have killed Israeli citizens by direct strikes, and indirectly by causing elderly Israelis to have heart attacks while “packing back and forth”. The rocketing of missiles has caused injuries and physical damage to Israeli homes and businesses. Israelis have to live their lives around having seconds to find shelter in time of attack.

          Sderot has been under missile attack for 13 years with thousands of rockets fired at it. Life is not normal when every time you step outside it is like playing Russian roulette with your or spouse’s and children’s lives.

          This war is a war of self defense. Hamas chose this war and its people support them. They suffer the consequences of their choices.

          Reply to Comment
          • David

            And I bet you haven’t done anything whatsoever to deal with the root causes of the conflict by doing all you can to convince Israel’s government to end its belligerent, illegal and brutal occupation of the Gaza Strip. (Remember, under international law, the Gaza Strip is still occupied by Israel.)

            Also, I bet you have never lifted a finger to end Israel’s belligerent, illegal and brutal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem (which Palestinians have long since agreed to share as a joint capital with Israel) or Syria’s Golan Heights and Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms, also illegally and belligerently occupied by Israel.

            There is no special provision in international humanitarian law (e.g., the UN Charter, the Universal of Declaration of Human Rights, the 1949 Fourth Geneva and the Rome Statutes – binding on all UN members) that allows Israel to violate it with impunity. Indeed, it is long since time that Israel was suspended from the UN and subjected to sanctions and international isolation. What was WWII all about?

            Reply to Comment
          • Sonnenuhr

            You can say Israel occupies Gaza but Israel does not control life in Gaza, Hamas does. Israel has a legal blockade on Gaza, as verified by the Palmer report.

            Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            “…guess if you close your eyes to Jewish suffering, you could even deny that the holocaust happened. Millionsof Israelis are suffering.”

            I’m specifically talking about “Operation: Protective Edge”, and you act as though everything the Jews have ever suffered is happening all at once.

            You have no moral authority to speak of Holocaust denial when you deny Israel’s role in the current atrocities.

            Reply to Comment
          • Trevor

            Another example of what’s wrong with the world. So by your reckoning it’s ok for Israel to kill children and wipe out a people trapped in a prison of Israel’s making. If anybody questions the methods then they spout some anti-semitic bull shit. I am by know means an antisemite but I must say what respect I had for the Israeli people has vanished along with the lives of those innocent children. You can say Hamas have fired thousands of rockets at israeli civilians all you want but where are the hundreds of dead children and women, where are the bombed houses, schools, hospitals and places of worship.. They are not in Israel they are in Gaza. What makes this even more sickening is the fact that while the death toll is 40% children you still stand there and spout this nonsense trying to defend israel .. I’m irish and I know for a fact if we were at war and our government began to slaughter children (or enemies as you might call them) every citizen in this country would be up in arms. Have a look at the pictures of dead and wounded children then ask yourself are they doing the right thing. If you still say yes then my friend you are a shining example of how far humanity has to go before we are a civilised people

            Reply to Comment
      • serene

        Have you read the title of this photo essay? Are you blind? Do you not see?

        Reply to Comment
      • Dr. G. M. Mir

        Palestinians are being bombarded, children killed the same way the Firown was killing children in Moses time when he was a child, fearing that he will be killed by any one of that race, but finally he was killed by Moses(AS), meaning Israelis are doing for themselves although under the umbrella of USA. You have been more panic for Israelis than Palestinians although both are human beings, very sad and disgusting on your part. Think realistic.

        Reply to Comment
    5. JohnW

      Testimony in the UN by an honest British commander about the previous Gaza war, operation Cast Lead:

      http://youtu.be/tlmFc1R8evY

      I am sure it is pertinent to this war too. But the hystrionics go on about Israel, while Hamas atrocities are ignored and the rentaCrowd ignores what goes in in Syria and Iraq, where Arabs murder Arabs, not by the hundreds, not by the thousands but by the hundreds of thousands.

      SNAFU, Situation Normal All Fucked Up, Sick!

      Reply to Comment
      • David

        On 15 September 2009, the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (Operation Cast Lead) was issued. While the panel, headed by Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor with the war crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, did state that Hamas rocket attacks against civilian areas would “constitute war crimes” and “may amount to crimes against humanity,” nearly all of its report dealt with Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law, i.e., “war crimes and possibly, in some respects, crimes against humanity.”

        The Goldstone Report also declares that Operation Cast Lead was “directed at the people of Gaza as a whole,” not just Hamas militants as Israel claims, that its operations were “carefully planned in all their phases as a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.” Goldstone and his fellow panelists also found Israel guilty of attacking residential areas, water wells, rooftop water tanks, agricultural land, citrus groves, chicken farms, greenhouses, business factories and police stations; that “the destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces.” The panelists also charge Israel with using phosphorous incendiary shells on a UN compound sheltering more than 600 civilians, using phosphorous and high explosive artillery shells on Al-Quds hospital and they reject Israel’s assertion that Hamas or other militants were using the hospital. Israel is accused of attacking a crowded mosque during evening prayers (the panel rejected the contention that armed militants were inside), using flechettes (4-cm metal darts fired from missiles, planes or tanks “that penetrate straight through human bone and can cause serious, often fatal, injuries”) and of using Palestinians as human shields during house searches, a “war crime under the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court.” No evidence was found to support Israel’s contention that Hamas had used Palestinians as human shields.

        For the record, Goldstone has never retracted the findings of the Commission. Indeed, on April 13, 20ll he stated: “I have no reason to believe any part of the [UN] report needs to be reconsidered at this time.’’

        Also, I note Israel is using flechettes in its current blitzkrieg attack on the essentially defenseless inhabitants of the occupied Gaza Strip.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Arb

      “The International Committee of the Red Cross negotiated a two-hour humanitarian ceasefire – applicable only to Shujaiyeh – to allow for the retrieval of the dead and the evacuation of the wounded and those trapped in the neighborhood. Shelling, however, continued during the lull, as Israel claimed its forces were shot at.”

      According to at multiple Israeli news sources, the IDF stopped shelling and fighting but the Palestinians didn’t stop. In fact, the IDF extended the break by two hours despite the Hamas violations.

      http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4546809,00.html

      Reply to Comment
    7. JohnW

      Here is the part of a subsequent text of retraction of the original report by Richard Goldstone:

      http://m.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html

      “We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

      The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

      Reply to Comment
    8. Amir

      Gaza should happen all around the planet..perhaps than, we can hope

      Reply to Comment
    9. ahmed

      Have a look at some Holocaust pictures and then you might understand what ‘devastation’ means.

      Reply to Comment
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