Faiza Al-Tanboura had not spoken for 21 days since a missile strike destroyed her home. In the early hours of the morning she found her voice: “The children. Don’t let them kill the children,” she shouted as she ran out into the playground of a UN school under Israeli tank fire.
Three thousand people have squashed into Jabaliya Elementary Girls’ School since the Israeli military warned people to leave their homes and neighbourhoods or risk death under intense bombardment. Classroom Number 1, just inside the school’s entrance, had become home to about 40, mostly women and children.
The first shell came just after the early morning call to prayer, when most of those taking shelter in a United Nations school in Jabaliya refugee camp were asleep, crammed into classrooms with what few possessions they had managed to snatch when they fled their homes. Minutes later, a second shell slammed through the roof of the two-storey school.
At least 15 people, mostly children and women, died when the school in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit by five shells during a night of relentless bombardment across Gaza. More than 100 people were injured.
Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said the shelling of the school was a “serious violation of international law by Israeli forces”.
He said: “Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN-designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”
Christopher Gunness, the UNRWA’s spokesman, said “precise location of the school was communicated to Israeli army 17 times.”
The attack on the school was the sixth time that UNRWA premises have been hit since the Israeli assault on Gaza began more than three weeks ago, the UN said.
In the evening, after Israel had declared a four hour humanitarian ceasefire, came another attack, on a busy market in Shejaiyah, between Gaza City and the Israeli border. At least 15 people were killed, including Rami Rayan, a Palestinian journalist wearing a press vest, and another 200 people wounded.
At least 110 people were killed across Gaza on Wednesday, July 30, bringing the total Palestinian death toll to more than 1,350.
1. People inspect the damage outside the school. (Wissam Nassar for The New York Times)
2. A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike in a UN school, receives treatment at Kamal Edwan hospital. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
3. Palestinians who lost relatives in an Israeli strike in a UN school in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, mourn outside the Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia where victims from the attack were brought. (Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)
4. A Palestinian man inspects the damage at a UN school at the Jabalia refugee camp. (Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)
5. A Palestinians boy looks at the sky after hearing a fighter jet releasing flares, as he stands by a donkey killed by an Israeli strike earlier, at and around the adjacent Abu Hussein U.N. school, seen in background, in Jebaliya refugee camp. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)
6. A Palestinian man grieves for relatives who were killed in an Israeli airstrike at a U.N. school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, at the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya. (Khalil Hamra/AP)
7. A Palestinian man pictured through a damaged classroom carries a boy as he walks at a United Nations-run school sheltering Palestinians displaced by an Israeli ground offensive. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)
8. Palestinians mourn the death of a relative, who died when a UN school used as a shelter for internally displace people came under Israeli shelling in the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahia. (Oliver Weiken/EPA)
9. Palestinians collect human remains from a classroom inside a UN school in the Jabalia refugee camp. (Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)
10. Relatives carry the body of a child killed during the shelling of the school. (Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times)
Gaza’s Christians bury their first casualty of the war | July 27, 2014
"The Christian community in Gaza City, like its counterparts elsewhere in the Middle East, has been shrinking because of both conflict and unemployment.
The ancient Mediterranean seafront city once had a thriving Christian community, especially under British-mandated Palestine that ended in 1948 with the creation of the Jewish state.
Jalila Ayyad’s widower George still had a black eye and bloodstains on his shirt as he processed ahead of her coffin, hours after the air strike that destroyed their home.
Jalila, 60, was the first Christian casualty of a bloody Gaza war. She is also survived by two sons, but one could not be at her funeral because he is in hospital with serious wounds suffered in Sunday afternoon’s Israeli strike.
The simple coffin — white with a black cross — was carried reverently down the marble stairs of the cemetery, and into the chapel of the Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City.
"There are massacres here every day. This is what happens to the Palestinian people. Where’s the world, where’s the international community in all this? The bombs hit and kill — they don’t discriminate between civilian or militant," said one member of the parish.
A relative, George Ayyad, agreed wholeheartedly. He dismissed the idea that Jalila’s death would force more of the already dwindling Christian population out of Gaza.
"If we leave, that’s exactly what the Israelis want. Anyway, where are we supposed to go? This is my homeland," he said. "We Christians have been in Gaza for more than 1,000 years, and we’re staying."
The community’s first casualty, Jalila Ayyad, was born in Jerusalem and also had French nationality.” (via AFP)
Pictures from the funeral of Jalila Ayyad, 60, the first Christian Palestinian, whose body was found under the rubble of her home after an Israeli airstike, at Saint Porfirios Church in Gaza City on July 27, 2014. The debris of a house belonging to Ayyad family, which was targeted in an Israeli air strike, is also seen above. (Pictures by Suhaib Salem/Reuters | 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Thousands flee Gaza’s Shujaiyah after night of terror | July 20, 2014
They walked in their thousands, barefoot and in their pyjamas, streaming out of the eastern Gaza district of Shujaiyah after a night of non-stop Israeli bombing.
They described hours of terror, as tank shells slammed into homes, with no electricity and no way to escape.They called ambulances, but there was no way for the vehicles to get in under the constant fire.
So in the end, thousands of desperate residents fled on foot at first light, walking two hours or more into Gaza City. They left behind the bodies of the dead in the streets of their neighbourhoods — in Nazzaz, in Shaaf and in other parts of this flashpoint area between Gaza City and the Israeli border.
One of those fleeing was Sabreen Hattad, 34, with her three children. “The Israeli shells were hitting the house. We stayed the night because we were so scared but about six in the morning we decided to escape,” she said. “But where are we supposed to go? The ambulances could not enter and so we ran under shell fire.” Three other men pass by in a hurry clutching bedding in their arms. Asked what they had seen they would only answer: “Death and horror.”
Many of those escaping Shujaiyah made for Gaza’s central Shifa hospital, which was engulfed by chaotic scenes and ambulances ferrying the dead came in a steady steam, among them a local TV cameraman Khaled Hamad and paramedic Fuad Jabir, killed during the overnight offensive, wheeled out wrapped in a bloody plastic shroud. "He wasn’t a fighter, he was a fighter for humanity," wailed one relative as the family buried him. ”He was an ambulance worker, did he deserve to die?”
Shifa hospital administrator Dr. Hasan Khalas confirmed that 112 Palestinians were killed across Gaza last night, at least 60 dead in Shujaiyah only. Dozens of victims in Shujaiyah haven’t been identified. ”This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Doctor Said Hassan, who has worked at the hospital for eight years.
More than 60 Palestinians were killed, including 17 children, and 210 injured in Shujaiyah massacre so far. The ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip have so far displaced more than 135,000 Palestinians, according to a report. The death toll is expected to rise as Israeli shelling continues and more bodies are uncovered, while today’s total across the Gaza Strip has passed 90 already, bringing the 13-day total death toll to more than 410, with at least 3,000 injured.
1. Smoke rises during what witnesses said were heavy Israeli shelling at the Shujaiyah neighbourhood. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)
2. A wounded Palestinian man reacts after the death of his relatives, who medics said were killed during heavy Israeli shelling at the Shujaiyah district, at a hospital. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)
3. A Palestinian woman wearing clothes stained with the blood of other relatives, who medics said were wounded in Israeli shelling, cries at a hospital. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)
4. Palestinians flee the Shujaiyah neighbourhood. (Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters)
5. A Palestinian woman reacts after the death of her relatives, who medics said were killed during heavy Israeli shelling at the Shujaiyah district, at a hospital. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)
6. Palestinians flee the Shujaiyah neighbourhood. (Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters)
7. A Palestinian woman, who medics said was wounded during heavy Israeli shelling, stands at a hospital. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)
8. Palestinians flee the Shujaiyah neighbourhood. (Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters)
9. Palestinian policemen and medics carry a man, who medics said was wounded in Israeli shelling, at a hospital. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)
10. Palestinians flee the Shujaiyah neighbourhood. (Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters)
The son of Palestinian Huseen Awad mourns during his funeral in central Gaza Strip on August 11, 2013. Israeli troops killed Awad who crossed in from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, fearing he was a security threat though he proved to be unarmed, military sources said.
[Credit : Suhaib Salem/Reuters]