the republic logo

Strike on Gaza park kills 10, mostly children; Israelis, Palestinians trade blame for attack

Share/Save/Bookmark

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A strike on a Gaza park killed 10 people Monday, nine of them children, as Israeli and Palestinian authorities traded blame over the attack and fighting in the Gaza war raged on despite a major Muslim holiday.

A truce between the sides remained elusive as diplomats sought to end the fighting at the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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 Gaza park attack happened as children played on a swing in the Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, said Ayman Sahabani, head of the emergency room at nearby Shifa Hospital. Sahabani said nine of the 10 killed at the park were children under the age of 12 and 46 were wounded.

The strike on the park occurred a few minutes after the hospital's outpatient clinic was hit, leaving several people wounded. Camera crews were prevented from filming the area of impact at Shifa.

Gaza's police operations room, Civil Defense and Sahabani blamed the attacks on Israeli airstrikes.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, denied Israel was 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.

Gaza's Interior Ministry spokesman Eyad al-Bozum said he believes that shrapnel found in dead bodies and in the wounded is evidence of Israel's role in the incident.

PHOTO: A Palestinian woman visits the graves of relatives marking the first day of Eid al-Fitr in a cemetery in Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014.  Monday marked the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims usually start the day with dawn prayers and visiting cemeteries to pay their respects to the dead, with children getting new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visiting each other. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A Palestinian woman visits the graves of relatives marking the first day of Eid al-Fitr in a cemetery in Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014. Monday marked the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims usually start the day with dawn prayers and visiting cemeteries to pay their respects to the dead, with children getting new clothes, shoes and haircuts, and families visiting each other. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

"The occupation claims that Palestinian rockets hit the hospital and the park," he said. "This is an attempt to cover their ugly crime against children and civilians, and because of their fear of scandal and international legal prosecution."

In a text message, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the strike on the park a "massacre." The Hamas military wing said that in response to the strike, it fired three rockets toward the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

Israel's military on Monday also ordered residents of parts of northern Gaza to evacuate towards central Gaza City, a sign that Israel may be broadening its assault. The areas warned included Shijaiyah, which saw one of the bloodiest days of fighting last week.

Earlier, Israeli jets struck several sites in Gaza and rockets continued to fall on Israel, the Israeli military said, disrupting a relative lull.

Israel says it launched its war on Hamas July 8 to halt incessant rocket fire from Gaza. It later broadened the assault into a ground offensive, which is meant to tackle Hamas' network of tunnels which Israel sees as a major threat.

The United Nations on Monday called for an "immediate" cease-fire in the fighting that has already killed over 1,040 Palestinians, 43 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side. On Sunday, President Barak Obama telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to push for an immediate end to the conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, according to a statement from his office, in which he voiced his dismay with the U.N. announcement. "It does not include a response to Israel's security needs and the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip," he said.


Goldenberg reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

All comments are moderated before posting. Your email address must be verified with Disqus in order for your comment to appear.
View our commenting guidelines and FAQ's here.

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


Video:
PHOTO: The Israeli military says it has carried out three airstrikes on Gaza, targeting Hamas rocket launchers and infrastructure in the strip. (July 28)
The Israeli military says it has carried out three airstrikes on Gaza, targeting Hamas rocket launchers and infrastructure in the strip. (July 28) PHOTO: The U.N. Security Council called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas at an emergency meeting just after midnight Monday morning. (July 28)
The U.N. Security Council called for "an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire" in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas at an emergency meeting just after midnight Monday morning. (July 28) PHOTO: Israel and Hamas have each launched new attacks after failing to agree to a 24-hour truce that had been proposed by both sides at different times. (July 27)
Israel and Hamas have each launched new attacks after failing to agree to a 24-hour truce that had been proposed by both sides at different times. (July 27)
Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Palestinians pray in the courtyard of a U.N. school in Gaza City, Monday, July 28, 2014. The school, one of dozens of emergency shelters for those who have fled the fighting. It's the morning of Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday that caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In normal times, the men would have worshipped at their neighborhood mosques. However, 20 mosques have been hit by Israeli warplanes so far, according to Palestinian officials. Israel says Hamas stores weapons and rockets in houses of worship. The men prefer to perform Eid prayers in the relative safety of the school. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Click to view (11 Photos)

All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.