Palestinian Muslims in Gaza say they had hoped to have a quiet holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which begins Monday and goes until Friday. But, the Israeli military began pounding Gaza with bombs as soon as the ‘temporary ceasefire’ was scheduled to end – at noon on Monday. Two of the targets were a playground and a hospital.The strike on a park — suspected to be a drone strike — hit a playground beside al-Shati refugee camp, near the beach in Gaza City, killing 10 children as they played with their families. According to Ma’an News Agency, the children were wearing holiday clothes they had been given to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
An NBC journalist who witnessed the bombing tweeted that it was an Israeli drone which was responsible.
Eyewitnesses say that 40 people survived injuries in the strike, which some are now calling the ‘Eid Massacre.’
Ayman al-Sahbani, director of reception at al-Shifa Hospital, said that 10 children’s bodies had arrived at the hospital as a result of the two strikes. It is still unclear to medical staff how many had died as a result of the attack on the hospital.
Al-Shifa Hospital is the main hospital in the Gaza Strip, and thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge there, as some 130,000 have now fled their homes in an attempt to escape Israel’s continued bombardament of the region. Israeli authorities have declared more than 43 percent of the Strip ‘off-limits’ to civilians and have destroyed more than 2,000 homes in the past 3 weeks.
Several rockets were fired on Monday, into Israel, and the Israeli army is now claiming that the deaths were a result of ‘failed rocket attacks’ launched by the Islamic Jihad.
Resistance forces had previously announced a 24-hour ceasefire, according to Palestinian leadership, to begin on Sunday at 2 pm. Israel, however, refused to accept the ceasefire, with officials saying that they would limit attacks to ‘retaliation’ against Palestinian attacks.
Ma’an further reports that Israeli shelling killed two Palestinians in Jabaliya earlier, while another Palestinian died of previously inflicted wounds. Seven bodies were also recovered in Khuzaa, in the eastern Gaza Strip, as medical teams dug through the rubble which now fills the neighborhood.
Furthermore, the Israeli army, on Sunday, confirmed firing a mortar round into a Gaza UN shelter, this past Thursday, by which 15 people died, but has so far denied killing anyone at the site.
‘We reject the claims that were made by various officials immediately following the incident, that people were killed in the school premises as a result of (Israeli army) operational activity,’ said spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, who claims that militants ‘in the vicinity’ of the school fired mortar rounds and anti-tank rockets at Israeli forces, upon which the army supposedly responded with mortar fire, upon which ‘a stray round’ landed in the compound.
‘A single errant mortar (round) landed in the courtyard of the school,’ he said. ‘The courtyard was completely empty’ at the time of the incident, he claimed.
However, that same day, an eyewitness was quoted by local radio as saying that, immediately before the shelling, a man introducing himself as a Red Cross official was asking people to gather in the yard because they would be evacuated to another shelter.
An UNRWA official saw people gathering asserted that there had been no coordination with UNRWA, and told them to go back to their rooms. During the argument which ensued, Israeli artillery shells began bombarding the school.
UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted, following the attack: ‘Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army.’
The majority of the displaced people sheltering at the school were elderly people, women, and children. Three UN teachers were killed.
On the record quote from UNRWA Spokesperson, Chris Gunness 07/28/14:
‘According to the information UNRWA has gathered so far about the fatal incident at the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun on Thursday, there were hundreds of people at the installation when it was hit. We had staff at the school when the incident took place reporting in, as the shelling, which caused multiple fatalities and casualties, occurred. In addition we have spoken to numerous eye witnesses. According to our reports, after the first shell, there were several others in the close vicinity of the school within a matter of minutes.
We reiterate our condemnation and dismay at the incident and the loss of life. We call for a full investigation. It is important in a case like this where a clearly marked UN school in which hundreds of people took refuge is hit in this way, that there should be full transparency and accountability. We look forward to a report that is fair and objective in establishing the facts.’
According to Ma’an, Monday’s attacks have now brought the total Palestinian death toll to 1,055, with more than 6,200 injured.
The Israeli army says that at least 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed, in addition to three civilians.