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10 Palestinians killed as Israel bombs Gaza playground

July 28, 2014 5:23 P.M. (Updated: July 29, 2014 5:47 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Monday bombed a park near the beach in Gaza City killing at least 10 Palestinians including eight children on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, medics said.

The strike on the park in al-Shati refugee camp -- which reports suggested was a drone strike -- hit the playground, killing 10 people, mostly children as they played with their families while wearing holiday clothes they had been given to celebrate the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Eyewitnesses said that 40 were also injured in the strike, which some were calling an "Eid massacre."

Spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza Iyad al-Buzm said that explosives experts from the Gaza police had examined "the targeted places and the remnants of shells there" as well as the wounds on the bodies, determining them to be inflicted by an Israeli strike.

The Israeli army, however, said that the deaths were a result of "failed rocket attacks" launched by Palestinian militants.

Government Coordinator in the Territories Yoav Mordechai told Ma'an, however, that the rockets were launched by Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.

Bezm denied the charges, saying: "The narrative of the Israeli authorities that these are rockets belonging to the Palestinian resistance are false allegations and a failed attempt to avoid responsibility for these crimes for fear of scandal and legal prosecution."

Director of reception at al-Shifa Hospital Ayman al-Sahbani said that a total of 10 bodies had arrived at the hospital as a result of the strike.

Another strike around the same time hit the outpatient clinic of al-Shifa Hospital, which is the main hospital in the besieged coastal enclave, but no casualties were reported.

Thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge in the al-Shifa Hospital, as 130,000 have fled their homes as Israeli authorities declared more than 43 percent of the Gaza Strip off-limits to civilians and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in recent weeks.

Israeli shelling killed two Palestinians in Jabaliya earlier on Monday amid a relative lull in fighting compared to previous days.

Another Palestinian, meanwhile, succumbed to his wounds, while seven bodies were recovered in Khuzaa in the eastern Gaza Strip as medical teams took advantage of the calm to retrieve bodies from the rubble of the heavily bombarded neighborhood.

The attacks came a day after Palestinian militants announced a 24-hour ceasefire beginning Sunday at 2 p.m. Israel refused to officially accept the ceasefire, but officials said they would restrain attacks to "retaliation" to Palestinian attacks.

Several rockets were fired on Monday into Israel.

Monday's attacks brought the total Palestinian death toll to 1,055, with more than 6,200 injured.

The Israeli army says at least 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in clashes with Palestinian militants in the same time, while three civilians have died in rocket attacks on Israel.
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