UK & World News

  • 28 July 2014, 20:57

Israel Blames Hamas For Gaza Children's Deaths

Israel has accused Hamas of misfiring two rockets - one of which struck Gaza's main hospital and the other a refugee camp, killing nine children.

Palestinian officials had earlier suggested Israeli missiles were to blame for the strikes on the outpatient clinic at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and the nearby Al Shati refugee camp.

A Palestinian official said at least 10 people in total were killed in the strike on the camp, and a further 46 injured.

However, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) denied responsibility for the attacks and said it had not been operating in the area.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, rubbished the claims as "ridiculous" and told Sky News: "The Israeli Defence Forces did not carry out any strikes in that area. Shifa Hospital was not a target, nor was the Shati Beach camp.

"Both of those locations were struck by terrorist rockets that were launched towards Israel and fell short."

The IDF also tweeted: "Since the beginning of the operation #IDF has documented approximately 200 rockets & mortars that landed short within #Gaza."

Sky's David Bowden, who visited the hospital in Gaza City, said: "I've seen injured children, some very badly injured and not so badly injured, and in the morgue I have seen dead children.

"There were screaming children, some walking wounded, but they were all dazed, wondering what was going on, and were surrounded by screaming relatives.

"The blame game has started. Clearly, the people there believe it was the Israelis. But the Israelis were quick off the mark to say it was nothing to do with them.

"Whatever happened, there are children dead and injured, and those pictures are winging their way around the world, and the pressure from the international community on both sides to stop this, and stop it now, will become immeasurable."

Israeli media, meanwhile, reported nine soldiers had been killed - four in mortar strikes on Eshkol in southern Israel, and another five in combat in Gaza.

Shortly afterwards, the Israeli army warned Palestinians living in Shejaiya, Zeitun and eastern Jabaliya around Gaza City to evacuate.

There were also reports five Palestinian militants had been killed while trying to enter Israel through a tunnel, near Nahal Oz, from Gaza, and a further 10 civilians killed in Israeli raids, three of them children.

The fresh wave of violence came less than an hour after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded an end to the violence "in the name of humanity" and accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal of being "morally wrong" for putting their own people at risk of being killed.

A truce between the sides remained elusive, as Mr Netanyahu vowed a "lengthy" Israeli military offensive would continue until the "threat" to Israeli citizens from Hamas rockets and tunnels had been eradicated.

The conflict has so far claimed the lives of 1,050 Palestinians. Some 52 Israeli soldiers have been killed and three civilians.

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