Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Yousef Alhelou writing from Beit Hanoun, occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 8 November 2006
"One day after the Israel army declared that it had pulled out and completed Operation Autumn Clouds in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, 24 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and the West Bank, 19 people were killed and at least 45 were injured as a large number of shells were fired at the town. Another five Palestinians were killed in Jenin, northern West Bank by Israeli army fire.
The series of incidents began at 6 a.m., when eyewitness said that dozens of tank shells and missiles landed simultaneously in a small and limited area in Beit Hanoun. Ambulances found it difficult to evacuate the wounded. According to Palestinian sources, some of the shells landed on a house, killing 11 members of one family called Al-A'athamein, including a nine-year-old child and a 73-year-old woman. Israeli sources confirmed that artillery shells were fired Wednesday morning. Incredibly, they said it was not yet known whether the matter was a technical error or a human one.
Sources in Gaza reported that some of those killed were hurt after shells hit a group of civilians who arrived to aid those hurt in the first barrage. Residents in the area were called to donate blood for fear that the number of casualties would be higher. Khaled Radi, a Palestinian Health Ministry official, said all the dead were civilians. He said seven children and four women were among the dead.
Radi also said at least 45 more were wounded, all civilians. Four hospitals are treating the wounded across Gaza. Emergency and first aid director in the ministry of health, Dr Moa'aweyah Hasanein announced that the latest round of Israeli war crimes in Gaza has resulted in a new massacre in the northern town of Beit Hanoun. Nineteen innocent civilians, including seven children and four women, have been murdered brutally as they slept in their own house. This brings this week's toll alone to around 80 Palestinian martyrs and more than 350 have been injured.
Palestinian Health Minister Bassem Naim referred to the trend of similar incidents, saying that killing constitutes a policy and a target for the Israelis. He stated, "I have no words to describe the ugly Israeli massacre in Beit Hanoun this morning." According to Naim, "This massacre is added to another massacre which the town has only just emerged from. This morning's operation only proves that killing is Israel's target, and this is proved by the massive fire at the medical teams arriving at the area." Naim added that more proof was the inclusion into the Israeli government Avigdor Lieberman, who openly calls for the killing Palestinians.
"The massacre in Beit Hanoun proves that the Israeli government is committing war crimes against civilians," said Israeli Knesset member Talab El-Sana after the incident. "Palestinian children and women are murdered in their homes and in their beds. Olmert, Peretz and Halutz are war criminals who failed the first war and are committing war crimes in the second war." He called for "the end of the ongoing slaughter" and said "tanks cannot kill the dream of a people aspiring to independence and freedom." "