Palestinian women mourn four-year-old Mahmoud Raed Sadallah, who was killed following an explosion in Jabaliya, Gaza Strip, 16 November. (Anne Paq / ActiveStills)
Sunday marked the deadliest day yet for Palestinians in Gaza, as Israel’s heavy bombardment of the coastal strip killed yet more civilians. The death toll has risen to 72 people in Gaza; according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, at least 27 civilians have been killed so far. Additionally, according to the centre, “535 Palestinians, including 520 civilians, have been wounded – this number includes 140 children and 83 women.”
24 people today have been killed, according to Ma’an News.
The New York Times’ on-the-ground reporters have details on a deadly strike on a home in Gaza today:
Israeli forces killed at least 11 people, including several children, in a single airstrike that destroyed a home here on Sunday, as Israel pressed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip for a fifth day, deploying warplanes and naval vessels to pummel the coastal enclave.
The airstrike, which the Israeli military said was meant to kill a Palestinian militant involved in the recent rocket attacks, was the deadliest operation to date and would no doubt weigh on negotiations for a possible cease-fire. Among the dead were five women and four small children, The Associated Press reported, citing a Palestinian health official.
The strike reportedly leveled “the al-Dalou family home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City,” Ma’an reports.
Earlier reports by the IDF Spokesman to the effect that Israel assassinated the head of Hamas’ rocket-launching unit Yehiya Rabiah today in an aerial bombing in northern Gaza appear to have been inaccurate. Apparently, the IAF mistakenly bombed the home of one of his neighbors, Mohammed a-Dallo, killing 10 members of his family and two of his neighbors. Rabiah seems to have survived the attack.
The Times also reports that “in Israel, 3 civilians have died and 63 have been injured. Four soldiers were wounded on Saturday.”
The occupied West Bank saw intense protests and clashes over the Gaza assault. Ma’an News reports that “over 50 people were injured on Sunday during protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem against Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.”
Two rockets fired from Gaza in the direction of Tel Aviv were struck down by the U.S.-financed Iron Dome system today.
And as our own Allison Deger reports, the “Israeli military targeted two media buildings in the Gaza Strip, injuring six journalists with one losing his leg in an amputation after the bombing.”
Reporters Without Borders condemned the Israeli attack on journalists in a press release:
“These attacks constitute obstruction of freedom of information,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We remind the Israeli authorities that, under humanitarian law, the news media enjoy the same protection as civilians and cannot be regarded as military targets.
“Even if the targeted media support Hamas, this does not in any way legitimize the attacks. We call for a transparent investigation into the circumstances of these air strikes. Attacks on civilian targets are war crimes and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions. Those responsible must be identified.”
The Committee to Protect Journalist likewise condemned the attack on the media building.
In Egypt, cease-fire talks have reportedly broken down for now, according to reporter Sheera Frenkel. On Twitter, she wrote: “Hamas official Abu Zahri says that ceasefire negotiations in Cairo have failed.” Haaretz reported earlier that a “Senior official in Jerusalem confirms that Israeli envoy has arrived in Cairo for cease-fire talks. According to the official, Israel does not expect any breakthrough in talks, and preparations for a possible ground offensive are ongoing.”
This comes as Egyptian revolutionaries have crossed into Gaza. The Associated Press reports:
About 500 Egyptian activists have crossed into Gaza to deliver medical supplies and show support for Palestinians facing an Israeli offensive…
“We are telling the Palestinians that we are on their side,” said activist Adam Mubarak. “Our visit is a message to Israel that we will not abandon the Palestinians in Gaza.”
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has uttered his first public words on the Israeli assault.
“Let’s understand what the precipitating event here that’s causing the current crisis and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated, and there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” said Obama, ignoring the fact that it was an Israeli assassination that decisively broke a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel and that this latest flare-up began when Israel killed a teenage boy.
“Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory,” Obama added at a press conference during his trip to Asia. “If that can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that’s preferable. It’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza. It’s also preferable for Israelis, because if Israeli troops are in Gaza, they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”