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World Cup fans killed as Israel raid hits Gaza cafe
Published Thursday 10/07/2014 (updated) 12/07/2014 23:19
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Palestinians search for bodies in the southern Gaza Strip on
July 10, 2014 at a beach cafe hit the previous night by an
Israeli air strike while people were watching the World Cup
(AFP/Thomas Coex)
KHAN YOUNIS (AFP) -- It was supposed to be an evening of entertainment in Gaza, watching the World Cup semi-final at a cafe, a welcome break from 48 hours of Israeli air strikes.

But the evening was cut brutally short when an Israeli raid flattened the Fun Time Beach cafe in the southern Gaza Strip in the early hours of Thursday, killing nine people and wounding 15.

All that is left of the popular seaside cafe -- where dozens broke their Ramadan fast on Wednesday night before settling down to watch Argentina play the Netherlands -- is a large crater and a few mounds of sand.

The cafe’s multicolored sign is still standing, somewhat crookedly, as colorful bunting and canvas windbreakers lay strewn on the floor, torn down by the force of the blast.

The Israeli missile scattered the dead and wounded across the beach, and made a hole so deep that seawater filled it up from underground after impact.

"It was a normal social occasion," said Wael Soboh, a local policeman who is employed by the Palestinian Authority.

"The boys ate their Ramadan iftar meal here, and then began watching the match. It is not a military area."

Eight people were killed immediately in the blast, medical sources said, all of them residents of the nearby city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

Bulldozers were earlier Thursday busy searching for a ninth man believed to buried underneath the soggy sand, as locals looked on in the searing midday heat.

"It's possible the missing guy was blown to pieces," said another local, Mohammed Astal.

Later, Gaza's emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said the body was found, raising the toll in the attack to nine.

'Israel won 9-0'

Residents said three members of an extended family -- Ahmed, Suleiman and Mussa Astal -- were among the dead, with most of those killed in their 20s.

"There was a power cut in Khan Younis, so a lot of people came here where there's a generator and a screen," said Mohammed al-Aqad, a resident who was at the cafe when the missile hit but was not injured.

The victims were all keen football fans, he said, as were some of the locals who were helping in the search for the missing man.

Asked who they were supporting in the World Cup, one enthusiastically replied: "Argentina, of course!"

"No, Germany," chipped in another, though he was wearing a red England shirt.

There were no goals in Wednesday's match, which eventually went to extra time and ended in penalties.

"And the result from this match here? The Jews won 9-0," Ahmed al-Aqad quipped macabrely.

Israel's operation against militants in Gaza - the deadliest violence since 2012 - entered its third day on Thursday, with the overall death toll rising to at least 81.
1 ) R / Israel
10/07/2014 19:04
this is too sad. I share the Palestinian people's pain. we all want it to stop, we wish for the violence on both sides to end. I pray for the innocent civilians in gaza, and hope for no more unjust casualties. peace from Jerusalem

2 ) Mark / U.S.A.
10/07/2014 19:15
So,how many terrorists did they blow up?

3 ) maybe they were Brazil fans / and died
10/07/2014 19:24
from heart ache?!

4 ) Tan Ki / EU
10/07/2014 19:50
I wonder, do the IDF hit beach cafes, houses, schools, hospitals, mosques for fun or as a training exercise? There is no excuse for this tragic event, unless of course it was another "mistake". In most peoples eyes, and under international law what is happening in Gaza is genocide, and genocide is a war crime, along with collective punishment, pillage ($3 million seized in Hebron), torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, etc.

5 ) Curro / Spain
11/07/2014 15:50
This is a genocide. There is no other word. A poor country being devastated by another one systematically. Is horrible that the Israel government didn't lean from their own pain. I'm sure that many people from Israel are against this, but people from Palestina need them to go to the street and PROTEST against their own government. Please. Go out and protest as loud as you can. This should stop.

6 ) Martin O'Brien / UK
11/07/2014 16:26
How many of the nine were refugees living in enforced exile from the territory normally referred to as "Israel"?

7 ) Carlos / usa
11/07/2014 17:56
This was obviously not a serious target. This was murder by Netanyahu to be able to tell his constituents in israel they were being tough on terrorism. We need to have Netanyahu tried in international court. Their excuse innocent people get killedin war but this is not a war. A war assumes the sides have equal weapons. I think Hamas is considering its targets better than israel. This is something Hitler would have easily agreed to. israel is terror murder and lies. Boycott Divest and Sanction.

8 ) Tom / USA
11/07/2014 18:54
So when there is retaliation at a U.S. football game are Americans going to whine? They put up the cash and the weapons for this mass murder. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Palestinians can't be the only people on Earth that "The Rules" apply to.

9 ) Mel / USA
11/07/2014 20:02

10 ) Mel / USA
11/07/2014 20:04
1st,2nd,3rd comment spiked):The Israeli pilots(which INF calls its "Diamond Dicks")must have been jealous that Palestinians got a chance to watch the soccer game,while Israeli's have to play their 'games' on humans?

11 ) Col. Lumumba / USA
11/07/2014 20:27
End all military support for the racist Zionist regime. Challenge supporters of the settler colonial state whenever possible.

12 ) Guillermo / mexico
12/07/2014 04:41
netanyahu is a terrorist

13 ) Hala / Jordan
13/07/2014 15:58
This is Gaza, where a person goes to sleep not knowing if they will wake up the next day.. It is the place when they hear a missile approaching the ground, the family members look in each other's faces to say goodbye, and when the missile doesn't hit their house, they don't know if to feel relieved for staying alive or sad for loosing their neighbors. Terrorism is clear, and it's obvious who is the terrorist here!! we have to do something!!

14 ) Anwar / Qatar.
14/07/2014 00:13
Very, very, sad. Praying for a miracle, praying for a ceasefire..
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