Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Gaza children killed as they played football on the beach

Mourners surround the bodies of the boys after the deadly strike
Pictures posted on social media show the boys running for their lives shortly before the attack that killed them
Pictures posted on social media show the boys running for their lives shortly before the attack that killed them

One minute they were happily playing hide and seek on a Gaza beach.

The next they were running for their lives as Israeli warships launched mortars at them.

Tragically, the four youngsters – the sons of fishermen – did not survive their injuries.

Seven cousins, aged between nine and 11, were playing around what looked like a derelict shed when they were hit by a shell from the direction of the sea.

Three of them managed to run to the terrace of a hotel, where their injures were treated by staff and journalists. Of the four others, who had more severe wounds, one died at the scene, the other three after arriving at hospital.

There was grief and rage, with an uncle, Abdel Kareem Bakr, accusing the Israeli forces of "cold-blooded massacre". He said: "It's a shame they didn't identify them as just kids with all the advanced technology they had been using. I don't know what justification they will use for what they did, but our boys are now gone."

The photos emerged as yesterday's five-hour ceasefire expired with a rocket being fired from Gaza. It struck the city of Ashkelon at precisely 3pm local time as the pause in military activity ended.

Later, an Israeli air strike killed three more children from the same family in Gaza City, according to a health official. Two boys and a girl between the ages of eight and 10 were killed when their home was hit, Ashraf al-Kidra said.

Their grandfather, Marzouk Shahaibar, said they had gone on the roof of the home to feed pigeons. TV footage from the scene showed a doll and a sandal near pools of blood on the roof.

Israel and Hamas had agreed the humanitarian ceasefire following a UN request to allow supplies to be delivered to Gaza.

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