Four children were killed when Israel resumed its heavy bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip after the expiry on Thursday afternoon of a five-hour “humanitarian ceasefire” requested by the United Nations.
Another child died of injuries sustained in earlier Israeli attacks.
By Thursday evening in Gaza, at least fourteen Palestinians had been killed in Israeli attacks before and after the brief ceasefire, bringing the total to 237 fatalities since Israel’s round-the-clock assault began on 7 July, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
Defence for Children International Palestine, which documents the deaths of children, saidthe toll from Israel’s current campaign “is now at its highest since Israel’s December 2008 military incursion, Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in the deaths of 352 children.”
A medic with the Palestine Red Crescent Society carries an injured child to a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah following an Israeli air strike before a five-hour ceasefire went into effect on 17 July.
Another 22,600 are seeking shelter in UN-run schools, having fled from Israeli shelling or threats of attack, principally in the northern and eastern sectors of the Gaza Strip.
Nine hundred thousand people – half the population of Gaza – are “without water supply due to inability to repair or operate infrastructure,” OCHA said.
Human Rights Watchsaid this week that Israeli air attacks it investigated “have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war.”
The group called on Israel to “end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property.”
Intense ceasefire negotiations are ongoing in Cairo, and earlier today there were premature reports that a ceasefire had been reached.
However the clearest sign that there was no agreement could be seen in the tweets of journalists and residents of Gaza who testified that the Israeli campaign of terror continues.
In a worrying development late Thursday in Gaza, The Electronic Intifada contributor Joe Catron reported that a heavy attack had begun on or near al-Wafa hospital, which had previously been threatened by Israel.