Bloody Sunday: Israel shellshocks Gaza killing 87
At least 87 Palestinians were killed on Sunday by Israeli shelling in a Gaza neighbourhood, where bodies were strewn in the street and thousands fled for shelter to a hospital packed with wounded, witnesses and health officials said.
As the number of dead mounted, Israel and Gaza’s dominant Hamas movement agreed to a two-hour ‘humanitarian truce’ in that area, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm (1030 GMT to 1230 GMT), at the request of the Red Cross. Fighting continued elsewhere in Gaza.
However, fighting resumed in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaia less than an hour after a ‘humanitarian truce’ was agreed to allow the evacuation of wounded from the area.
Israel’s military said its forces were shot at shortly after the two-hour truce, facilitated by the Red Cross, had begun and that it had resumed combat operations. Hamas had no immediate comment on Israeli allegations it had breached the ceasefire.
The mass casualties in Shejaia, in northeast Gaza, were the heaviest since Israel launched its offensive on the Palestinian territory on 8 July after cross-border rocket strikes by militants intensified.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the occupied West Bank, accused Israel of carrying out a massacre and declared three days of mourning. Witnesses said the Israeli attack was the fiercest they had seen since the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured Gaza.
Shifa hospital’s director, Naser Tattar, said 17 children, 14 women and four elderly were among the 87 dead, and about 420 people were wounded in the Israeli assault.
Gaza’s health ministry officials said at least 420 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed in the 13-day conflict and about 2,600 have been wounded.