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Israeli shelling of Shujaiyya market kills 17 despite ceasefire

July 30, 2014 3:21 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2014 1:45 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Despite a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire that began at 3:00 p.m., Israeli forces on Wednesday afternoon shelled a market in Shujaiyya as well as number of homes across the Gaza Strip, killing at least 35.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said around 6 p.m. that an Israeli airstrike had hit Shujaiyya market, killing at least 17, including a journalist, and injuring 200, including many seriously.

The Red Cross confirmed the numbers, saying many of the injured would need to be amputated.

Thick black smoke billowed over the site in the war-torn Shujaiyya neighborhood as at least five ambulances raced to the scene where bodies lay strewn on the ground, an AFP correspondent said.

A bloodied, limp lifeless body lay in a pool of petrol and mud, his head crushed, one of at least 17 dead.

It was supposed to have been a rare pause for Gaza's battered population of 1.8 million to go out in safety to stock up on goods, and for medics to evacuate the dead and wounded.

Instead, there was further bloody mayhem with more than 30 people killed across Gaza in the first three hours alone, sending the death toll from 23 days of unrelenting Israeli attacks soaring above 1,300.

A Ma'an reporter on the scene said that Israeli artillery had fired several shells at civilians in the market, adding that ambulances and civilian vehicles were still transporting the wounded and the killed to al-Shifa Hospital.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said that the dead including a journalist and two paramedics, as well as a member of the civil defense crews.

Sources named the journalist as Rami Ryan, a photographer for the Palestinian Network for Journalism and Media.

Bodies were still being pulled from the rubble, with medics estimating that dozens had been killed and injured.

The victims of the Shujaiyya attack were named as: Mohammad Mazen Moussa Fouda, Ahmad Abd al-Karim Hannoun, Sa'di Sa'di Faraj, Hussein Said Karira, Hamdi Sa'di Abu Roz, Abd al-Karim Hussein al-Silik, Ahed Ziyad al-Ghirbali , Abd al-Aziz Ibrahim al-Biltaji, Lina Alaa al-Silik, Abd al-Aziz Mohammad al-Silik, Abd al-Halim Mohammad al-Silik, Mutaz Bassam Deeb, Mahmoud Mohammad Rajab, Muath Khalid Tayih, Malak Jalal al-Silik, Umnia Mohammad al-Silik, and Layan Nael al-Silik.

That attack brought the toll since the ceasefire began to at least 35.

The new deaths included Asim Ahmad Baraka, 25, who died of wounds sustained in Khan Younis shelling.

Imad Ali Asfour died of injuries sustained in shelling on eastern Khan Younis.

Four were killed in shelling on a home in al-Qarara in Khan Younis. The dead were identified as Suheib Salama, Abdullah Fayyad, Ibrahim al-Astal and a fourth unidentified man.

Strikes were also reported in Juhr al-Dik, al-Bureij, Deir al-Balah, and many other districts across Gaza.

One airstrike hit the al-Basha building in Gaza, which houses a number of press offices.

Earlier, five were killed including Muhammad Wissam Dardona, Hussam al-Najjas, Hussam Muhammad al-Najjar, Shaaban Abdulaziz al-Jamal and Alaa Judi Khader.

The Israeli military said, meanwhile, that during the unilaterally-declared ceasefire Hamas had fired 26 rockets into Israel. No damage or injuries were reported.

The violations of the ceasefire brought the day's total Palestinian deaths to 105, as the total Palestinian death toll in the 23-day offensive hit 1,327 with more than 7,000 injured.

Yoav Mordechai, Israel's coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian Territories, said earlier that Israeli forces would stop attacks for four hours starting at 3 p.m.

Mordechai said Israeli forces would only target areas where rockets were being fired at Israel.

An Israeli army statement added that the "humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which (army) soldiers are currently operating."

"Residents must not return to areas that have previously been asked to evacuate," the statement said, adding the the army would respond to all fire from Palestinian militants throughout the limited ceasefire.

It was not immediately clear whether Palestinian factions would respect the limited, brief truce.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that Israel imposed the ceasefire only for "media consumption."

Abu Zuhri said the truce was "worthless" given that it excluded parts of the Gaza Strip where Israeli forces were operating.

The deadliest Israeli attack on Wednesday was a shelling on a UN-designated shelter in Jabaliya refugee camp which left at least 16 dead.

Chris Gunness, the spokesman for the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, condemned the attack in a statement made on Twitter.

"UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces," Gunness said.

"Precise location of Jabalia Elementary Girls School #Gaza & that it housed 3,000 displaced was communicated to Israeli army 17 times," he said in another tweet.
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