GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: Ten members of an extended family were killed in an Israeli airstrike early on Saturday on the western Gaza Strip, medics and witnesses said.
The eight children and two women were killed when a three-storey house in Shati refugee camp collapsed following an Israeli attack.
Several Israeli missiles targeted the house of Alaa Abu Hatab, 35, in the densely populated beach camp and adjacent buildings, killing four of his five children and his wife, in addition to his sister and four of her children.
A five-month-old infant survived the bombing, while Abu Hatab’s daughter was severely injured and is in intensive care.
Muhammad Al-Hadidi, brother-in-law of Abu Hatab, said that his wife was visiting her brother’s house with his five children. The children insisted they spend the night at their uncle’s house to play with their cousins.
“At night, I heard the sound of the bombing, and I did not know that it was for the building that my wife and children were in. I received a call that told me that the Abu Hatab’s house was targeted,” Al-Hadidi told Arab News
“I went quickly to the place to find all my children with my wife, under the rubble,” he said while crying.
Speaking outside Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Al-Hadidi said that he wanted “the unjust world to see these crimes.
“They were safe in their homes, they did not carry weapons, they did not fire rockets,” he said of his children, who were killed “wearing their clothes for Eid.”
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that the death toll had reached 139, including 39 children and 22 women. More than 1,000 have been wounded.
Muhammad Al-Sayed, 30, the owner of a barber store beneath the bombed building, said: “The scene was terrible during the night.”
“I have been working in the same place for 14 years. The scene was too painful for me. When I came to see it at night, I could not prepare myself to see the bodies being pulled out from the debris. Our lives have become cheap,” he told Arab News.
The Israeli shelling continued in several areas of the Gaza Strip on Saturday.
Heba Al-Attar, 45, a resident, told Arab News: “All I think these days is when I am killed and our house is destroyed, how my three children will live without me if they survive this onslaught.”
She added: “I feel scared every day, I can’t sleep at night, I steal some sleep in the morning, life is tough here in Gaza.”
However, Hiba hopes that international attempts to achieve peace will succeed.
“Now it is necessary to return to the cease-fire again. We want to preserve what is left of us, and what remains of our homes and our children,” she said.
The Israeli army continued to bomb high-rise buildings in the Gaza Strip. It flattened Al-Jala’a Tower in the center of the city with several missiles.
The tower housed several offices of local, Arab and international media, including The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera TV.
An Israeli officer gave the owner of the tower an hour to evacuate it. The owner pleaded with the officer to give them 10 more minutes so that some journalists could go and retrieve their equipment from the building, but the Israeli officer refused.
With the destruction of the tower in Gaza City, the number of towers that have been destroyed by Israel reached four, three of which contained offices of various media institutions.