Israel-Gaza conflict: 10 Palestinian children killed and 46 injured in strike on hospital and park

The violence cut short a truce to mark the end of Ramadan which failed to last 24 hours

Two strikes which hit the compound of Gaza City’s main hospital and a nearby park killed ten children and wounded 46 on Monday – hours after Israel and Hamas had declared a truce.

The park in the Shati refugee camp was hit minutes after a strike on the outpatients unit at the Shifa Hospital on the edge of the city.

Ayman Sahabani, the head of the emergency room at Shifa Hospital, claimed that children were playing on a swing in the park when they were killed. Nine of the 10 killed were children under the age of 12, and 46 were injured. Camera crews were prevented from filming the area of impact at Shifa, according to reporters on the scene.

In Israel, meanwhile, the military said a mortar attack on southern Israel caused "deaths and injuries," but did not disclose further details. Israeli media reported that the attack killed at least four people, which saw military helicopters rushing stretchers away to local hospitals.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) tweeted that Hamas were to blame for the deaths in Gaza, and accused the group of “hit[ting] their own people” with misfired rockets. But officials from Gaza's police operations room, Civil Defence and Sahabani, said the deaths and injuries were caused by Israeli airstrikes.

A short while ago, terrorists in Gaza fired rockets at Israel. 1 of them hit Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The other hit Al-Shati refugee camp.

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 28, 2014

 

Following the tweet, Lt Col Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman reiterated that Israel was not involved. "This incident was carried out by Gaza terrorists whose rockets fell short and hit the Shifa Hospital and the Beach (Shati) camp," he said.

Israeli media reported that the attack killed at least four people, which saw military helicopters rushing stretchers away to local hospitals.

Kim Sengupta, The Independent's Defence and Diplomatic Correspondent currently based in Gaza, tweeted:

#Gaza horrendous child casualties at Shifa Hospital, Hamas and Israeli military blaming each other.

— Kim Sengupta (@KimSengupta07) July 28, 2014

The airstrikes came after fighters labelled "terrorists" by the Israeli military used a tunnel to slip into an Israeli village from the Gaza Strip, and fought a gun battle with troops on Monday.

The IDF tweeted: "Terrorists infiltrated Israel from Gaza in order to attack an Israeli community near the border. IDF forces have responded."

Israeli television reported that five Hamas gunmen were killed, while Hamas in turn said its fighters had killed 10 Israeli soldiers. The Israeli military said four more soldiers died in a mortar attack.

After the infiltration at Nahal Oz, a kibbutz collective village east of Gaza City, the Israeli army warned thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes in areas around Gaza City - a type of warning which usually precedes strikes. As the sun set in Gaza, army flares lit up the sky and the sound of intense shelling could be heard.

During a televised speech on Monday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis to be "ready for a prolonged campaign" against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He added he believed a demilitarisation of Gaza must be part of any future solution in the territory.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas had eased slightly from around 9:30pm on Sunday night, after Hamas requested a 24-hour pause in violence to mark Eid al-Fitr – the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Speaking to Israel Radio earlier on Monday, the Israeli military's chief spokesperson Brigadier General Motti Almoz said: "The situation is an unlimited truce."

He nonetheless added that "the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are free to attack after any fire if there is any."

While a small number of rockets continued to fly from Gaza on Monday, and the Israeli army responded with tank and artillery shelling, the truce marked one of the calmest nights in the three-week conflict.

Since fighting began almost exactly two weeks ago, at least 1,085 Palestinians, 52 Israeli soldiers, two Israeli civilians and one Thai national.

During an emergency meeting held after midnight in New York (4am GMT), the UN Security Council urged Hamas and Israel to “accept and fully implement a humanitarian ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond”. But as it was not a resolution, the truce was therefore not legally binding — a point criticized early Monday by the Palestinians, who said they will keep pressing the UN's most powerful body to adopt a strong resolution.

Read more: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
Israeli military releases video footage blowing up Hamas tunnel
Greek Orthodox church becomes a small refuge in Gaza

Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Manindeour said: "You cannot keep 1.8 million Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip in this huge prison," he told reporters. "That is a recipe for disaster. It is inhumane, and it has to be stopped and it has to be lifted."

Meanwhile, Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor said the council statement didn't mention Hamas or the firing of rockets into Israel or Israel's right to defend itself, and stressed that it had agreed to five cease-fires since the conflict began.

On Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reinforced the Security Council's call for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire, and demanded that Israel and Hamas end the violence "in the name of humanity."

The secretary-general said he had had a lengthy conversation with Netanyahu on Monday morning, when he urged the Israeli leader to accept a cease-fire before addressing the root causes of the conflict. He said he had indirectly contacted Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal through Qatar and Turkey, which have good relations with Hamas,.

During his address, the UN chief accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mashaal of being irresponsible and "morally wrong" for letting their people get killed in the conflict. He urged them to demonstrate "political will" and "compassionate leadership" to end the suffering of war-weary citizens. 

He added that "Gaza is in critical condition" following attacks by the Israeli military that had killed helpless civilians and raised "serious questions about proportionality," he told reporters, adding that there must be accountability and justice for actions committed by all sides.

As an occupying power, Israel has "an international legal obligation to protect civilians" he said, as he called on its government to do "vastly more" to ensure the safety of UN sites where more than 173,000 Gazans have sought refuge.

Additional reporting by agencies

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence