While one United Nations official slammed the Israeli bombings as “unacceptable,” an Israel Defense Forces colonel called the deaths of four children “irrelevant.”
Human rights defenders on Tuesday condemned an intense Israeli aerial bombardment of densely populated areas of Gaza that killed at least 13 Palestinians—including at least 10 civilians and three leaders of a militant resistance group—while wounding more than 20 others.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF)—which is calling the airstrikes Operation Shield and Arrow—said it “targeted three senior Islamic Jihad commanders responsible for launching rockets toward Israel over the last month and planning further terror attacks,” as well as “weapons manufacturing sites and military compounds.”
“The strikes were carried out with pinpoint accuracy based on real-time intelligence while making efforts to avoid harming uninvolved civilians as much as possible,” the IDF added.
However, the Palestinian Ministry of Health-Gaza said that at least 10 civilians, including six women and four children, died in the bombings, which killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders Shaker al-Ghannam, Khalil al-Bahtini, and Tariq Mohammed Ezzedine.
Aftermath of today’s attack by the #Israeli military targeting #Gaza. 13 people have been killed and many others wounded including several women and children, along with several resistance commanders. #Gaza_under_attack pic.twitter.com/vpf5pOgCrs— Ramzy Baroud (@RamzyBaroud) May 9, 2023
Standing in front of a bombed six-story apartment building in Gaza City, Adeeb al-Rabai, a 60-year attorney, toldAl Jazeera that “I thought I was dreaming until I realized that the bombing was on my building.”
“It’s a civilian residential building,” Rabai stressed. “Israeli missiles hit the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors, which were partially destroyed. Civilians live in those apartments, women and children. The Israeli occupation meant to destroy and kill those in the building.”
Victims of Tuesday’s attack include Dr. Jamal Khaswan, a Russian national who was the director of the El-Wafa Charity Hospital in Gaza City, his wife Mervat Khaswan, and their 21-year-old son Yousef Khaswan. Dania Adass, who was 21, and her 17-year-old sister Iman Alaa Adass died when the IDF bombed their home in the Tofah neighborhood east of Gaza City.
Gaza| “Where is my Dad?”— Younis | يونس (@ytirawi) May 9, 2023
The moment a child, Miral Khawsan arrives at Al-Shifa Hospital, waiting for her father that was injured and evacuated to hospital following an Israeli airstrike
Sad to announce that it turned out that both her mother and father was killed. pic.twitter.com/xFV8sioxMO
“Dania was getting ready for her wedding in a few days, and Iman was sad because her sister was about to leave the family home,” cousin Shaaban Adass told Al Jazeera as the slain woman’s fiancée wept near her body. “What an enormous heartbreak and shock.”
“What happened is a heinous crime by the Israeli occupation, which claimed the lives of innocent people who were supposed to be safe in their homes,” Adass added.
Tor Wennesland, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said in a statement that he is “deeply alarmed” by Israel’s “unacceptable” bombings.
This video shows footages of Palestinian child Mayar Ezzdin, who was murdered with her father and brother in an Israeli airstrike on their home in Gaza last night. pic.twitter.com/nifyQAdDrW— PALESTINE ONLINE 🇵🇸 (@OnlinePalEng) May 9, 2023
Maurice Hirsch, an IDF reserve colonel, responded by accusing Wennesland of “moral bankruptcy” for not condemning last week’s barrage of rockets fired by Gaza militants into Israel, an attack that wounded as many as a dozen civilians.
The rocket attack followed the death of Khader Adnan—a Palestinian activist imprisoned in Israel without charge or trial—during an 87-day hunger strike.
“Considering the military advantage gained by eliminating these senior terrorists,” Hirsh tweeted, “it is irrelevant to ask how many children were incidentally killed.”
Israeli strikes kill 12 Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip overnight, brags about targeting members of the Islamic Jehad – who were killed with their family members. These are Ali and Mayar IzzAlDeen, two of the children killed in the raids. pic.twitter.com/E7sOEV61wo— Rania Zabaneh (@RZabaneh) May 9, 2023
Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and his far-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party said Tuesday that they would end their short-lived boycott of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government due to what they said was an insufficient response to last week’s rocket attack.
“If there’s one thing Israeli leaders can agree on, it’s killing Palestinians,” tweeted Yumna Patel, Palestine news director at Mondoweiss. “Nothing bands them together quite like bombing the hell out of Gaza.”
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