Israel kills journalist, medic in Gaza shelling; death toll up to 60 -UPDATED


Israel kills journalist, medic in Gaza shelling; death toll up to 60 -UPDATED

Medical teams extracted 60 bodies from destroyed houses, including 17 children, 14 women and 4 elders

World Bulletin/News Desk

A journalist and a medic were among the people killed Sunday in Israeli artillery shelling of Shujaya residential neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, according to a Palestinian health official.

“Photojournalist Khaled Hamad, 25, and medic Fouad Jaber, 28, were killed in the ongoing Israeli shelling of the residential area,” Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

Hamad was killed as he covered the situation on the ground in the district although he was wearing a vest clearly marked “press,” while Jaber died when the Israeli artillery targeted an ambulance trying to evacuate the injured from the embattled residential district.

Thousands of terrified Palestinians fled through the streets of Gaza City on Sunday, escaping Israeli shells that had rained horror and death onto their tree-lined suburb.

Tearful mothers clutched babies in blankets, little boys walked barefoot, weary fathers carried toddlers in their arms.

Some families rode on the back of donkey carts and piled into cars. Seven people sat in the gaping digger of a giant bulldozer, slowly driving clear of the smoke and bloodshed.

The mangled bodies of men, women and children filled the morgue at Gaza‘s main hospital, with other corpses reported to be still trapped under rubble in the Shejaia district, on the northeastern fringes of the Mediterranean enclave.

“They killed our people,” said Ahmed Mansour, 27, lying on his stomach as his back and arm trickled blood, staining the hospital stretcher. “They even shelled people as they fled their houses. What kind of human beings could do that?”

The Palestinian Press Bloc, a local NGO, confirmed Hamad’s death and accused Israel of “targeting Palestinian media people because they expose the Israeli massacres to the whole world.”

At least 60 Palestinians – many of them children and women – were killed in indiscriminate Israeli shelling of Shujaya residential neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra said Sunday.

At least 400 injured people are being treated from wounds they had sustained during the Israeli bombardment, he added.

The latest fatalities increase to 410 the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks against the blockaded Gaza Strip since July 7, said al-Qodra.

“Do you see what Israel does to us? Do you see how the strongest powers in the world allow it to attack civilians indiscriminately and now we’re left with nothing,” said Amer al-Segali, a father of 10, clasping his young son’s hand.

“They think they’re above the law, allowed to do whatever they want,” he said, walking towards central Gaza, hoping to find peace and refuge elsewhere.

Shaky video given to Reuters by a local resident showed crumpled bodies, including those of three children, lying scattered across a street, apparently felled by the Israeli shell fire, legs and arms bent back on each other.

Black smoke rose into the air, a menacing backdrop to the exodus from Shejaia.

“The night was so difficult, shelling all the time, every minute. We finally realised there was nothing to do but flee,” said Sameh Hamada, 40, walking with his wife and children, carrying nothing.

His wife, wiping away tears, interjected: “There were bodies and limbs on the street!”

A group of young men paused their march to sit on a street corner when an artillery round crashed into a building two blocks away, sending them scattering.

Photographs from Shejaia showed mounds of debris on the side of the road, with building facades shredded and windows blown out by the force of the blasts.

“Israel considers Eid al-Fitr truce”

The Israeli security cabinet has discussed the possibility of declaring a humanitarian hiatus to its onslaught against the Gaza Strip during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr later this month, the Israeli radio reported Sunday.

The cabinet is likely to declare the pause if U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is currently visiting the region, made such a request, the broadcaster quoted unnamed security sources as saying.

On Thursday, both Israel and Palestinian factions held a five-hour ceasefire proposed by the U.N. to help Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip to stock up on food supplies following 11 days of unrelenting Israeli air and naval bombardment.

Hours later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli army to launch a ground assault on the coastal enclave.

Dozens of Israeli tanks and military vehicles forced their way into the eastern parts of Gaza City on Sunday amid heavy artillery fire, prompting thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes towards the center of the city.

Eyewitnesses told AA that Israeli troops had advanced into Zaitoun, Toffah and al-Shujaya presidential neighborhoods where they pounded several homes.

The incursion was coupled with heavy fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian resistance fighters, the witnesses added.

Since July 7, Israel has been pounding the blockaded Gaza Strip with devastating air and naval bombardment with the ostensible aim of halting rocket fire.

At least 398 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks since then.

Gaza’s Shifa hospital, already crammed after 13 days of violence, struggled to cope with the new influx of dead and wounded. The corpses of two women lay scorched on the ground, along with two headless children and another cut in half.

A fleet of ambulances and cars brought in the victims, including the body of a journalist wearing a blue armoured vest, with the word ‘press’ writ large. A dead paramedic in distinctive, bright green garments was also stretchered in.

Inside the trauma ward, there was no place for doctors to put all the wounded.

“We can’t help. These wounded are dying… We are trying to operate on them, but whatever we do, they still die,” one doctor said, declining to give his name.


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