Israeli raids kill children despite rocket fire lull, Gaza death toll rises to 49

By AFP
Published: November 18, 2012

Two children Jumana Abu Sefan, 18 months old, and her brother Tamer, three and a half years old, were killed in an Israeli air strike on Sunday, hospital officials said. Israel bombed targets in Gaza for a fifth straight day on Sunday, launching aerial and naval attacks as its military prepared for a possible ground invasion. PHOTO: AFP

GAZA CITY: Israeli raids killed three children and critically wounded two more in Gaza early Sunday even as the army said there had been no rocket fire all night amid growing talk of a truce.

Aircraft also hit two media centres in Gaza City, wounding at least eight journalists, including one who lost his leg, emergency services said, as Egypt and France pressed efforts to broker a ceasefire and prevent an all-out ground war like that of 2008-9.

A senior Palestinian official in Gaza told AFP that amid serious efforts to end the violence, a deal could be reached later on Sunday or on Monday.

“There are serious talks to reach a truce, and it is possible that understandings will be reached today or tomorrow,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

With France’s top diplomat Laurent Fabius en route to the region to join the truce efforts, an Israeli air strike in central Gaza killed an 18-month-old boy and critically wounded his two young brothers, hours after warplanes killed two more children in the north.

The attacks came as towns and cities in southern Israel spent a quiet night with the military confirming that no rockets hit Israel between 9:00pm (1900 GMT) on Saturday and 7:00am (0500 GMT) on Sunday, when two struck the south.

The latest deaths took the overall toll in Gaza to 49 from Israeli strikes since Wednesday with more than 450 people injured, the emergency services said. Nine of the dead have been children.

Israel’s pounding of Gaza through the night dented truce hopes raised by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi after an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday.

Morsi told reporters his government was in “vigorous” communication with Israel and the Palestinians, with “some indications that there could be a ceasefire soon.”

Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya’s office said he had had been in telephone talks with Morsi, who shares the group’s roots and has moved to improve relations with Gaza’s rulers since taking office in June, easing their long diplomatic isolation.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted there would only be a ceasefire if armed groups completely halt their fire on southern Israel, media reports said.

And Israeli police said five rockets were fired from Gaza early on Sunday, at least two of which hit.

Medics named the three children killed in Gaza as Tamer Abu Saeyfan, three, his sister Jumana Abu Saeyfan, one, and 18-month-old Iyyad Abu Khusa.

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP that the third child’s two brothers, aged four and five, were “in critical condition.”

The child death toll from Israel’s Gaza air campaign has prompted outrage in the Arab and Islamic world, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying that sooner or later Israel would be held to account for the “massacre.”

Israeli aircraft hit two media buildings in central Gaza, those of Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa television channels, wounding eight journalists and causing extensive damage, Qudra said.

Warships stationed off the coast of Gaza also entered the fray, firing more than a dozen shells into the enclave, an AFP correspondent reported.

The French foreign minister was to hold talks with top Israeli and Palestinian leaders during his whirlwind one-day mission to the region looking to build on the truce efforts of Arab and Turkish leaders.

The Egyptian president had voiced guarded optimism late on Saturday.

“There are some indications that there could be a ceasefire soon,” he told a joint news conference in Cairo with the visiting Turkish premier. But there are “no guarantees.”

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal was also in Cairo for truce talks as the Arab League ministers held their emergency meeting on the conflict, a senior Hamas official said.

After the talks, the 22-member pan-Arab body said it would send a high-level delegation to Gaza, headed by its chief Nabil al-Arabi, on Sunday or Monday “to affirm solidarity with the Palestinians.”

But a senior official in the Hamas foreign ministry told AFP on Sunday that the meeting was not expected to take place before Monday.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Enlighten Me
    Nov 18, 2012 - 6:51PM

    Wow! No comments yet? Why, is it because it does not involve any bollywood superstar or the masala news? And What about the indians, huh? They can comment on any news be it our own internal matter but dont have the time for this?

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  • Freeman
    Nov 18, 2012 - 7:27PM

    No comments from indian extremists and Paksitani Liberal Fascists. Israel is friend of india. Both doing same job in Phalestine and kashmir and that is Only Killing Muslims.

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Nov 18, 2012 - 9:10PM

    @Enlighten Me:

    Wow! No comments yet? Why, is it because it does not involve any bollywood superstar or the masala news?

    No, because many more have been killed in Baluchistan and elsewhere in Pakistan by the establishment and its religious extremist cronies. Only this year hundreds of mutilated bodies have been recovered in Baluchistan. All this pales what is going on in Gaza.

    Recommend

  • Utkarsh
    Nov 18, 2012 - 9:19PM

    BBC says Hamas still firing rockets into Israel. When someone fires rockets at you, you would be foolish to measure the number of rockets you fire back rather than attempting to fix the problem at hand.

    And 17% of Israeli population in Muslim, and (for the guy who brought in India in the conversation) about the same proportion is Muslim in India.
    If they were all that unhappy and supportive of their Muslim brethren, they would have left.

    Recommend

  • J T
    Nov 18, 2012 - 9:38PM

    Utterly condemnable. Israel is behaving like the spoiled brat it has been for long and what’s worse is that the west is complicit in this blatantly disproportionate show of aggression. You can’t just go about bombing a tiny strip of land that’s crammed with some 1.7 million civilians. There’s no way anyone’s going to achieve peace this way.

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  • Nov 18, 2012 - 10:22PM

    I don’t know why It is mostly children that dies after an Israeli air strick.

    I wish these people would stop killing themselves. I hard that the Palestinian fired 900 rockets in to Israel. I those guys doesn’t have good defence, just imagine the lifes that could have been lost.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Nov 18, 2012 - 11:25PM

    @Freeman:
    That’s funny because Muslims appear to do a much better job of killing Muslims! Note the almost complete lack of coverage of the slaughter in Syria, claiming some 30,000 lives so far, by the mainstream press in Pakistan. Selective outrage only when Israel is involved!

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  • Gaurav
    Nov 18, 2012 - 11:43PM

    @Enlighten me What is nuclear Pakistan Army doing which boasts itself superior to Israeli army

    Recommend

  • SAMIT SINGH
    Nov 19, 2012 - 12:14AM

    @Enlighten Me:

    who started this rocket shelling first ? Palestine( Gaza ) or Israel ? Palestinians are really peace loving people ! huh !

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Nov 19, 2012 - 12:24AM

    Israel is friend of india. Both doing
    same job in Phalestine and kashmir and
    that is Only Killing Muslims.

    Last time I looked Israel population was least 21% Muslim — something Hamas conveniently overlooks as it fires off hundreds of rockets.

    Recommend

  • Mubashir
    Nov 19, 2012 - 2:40AM

    The issue here is whether a ceasefire agreement was violated and by who? Who started this latest round?Rockets fired from both sides do not stop and ask directions; They eventually find their targets: Buildings and humans.

    Both sides must abide by their ceasefire agreements. If the Palestinians started this round, there is no wisdom in crashing your head against the wall; If you want to do it , wait till you have enough power then publicly announce terminating the agreement before declaring war.

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  • khaN
    Nov 23, 2012 - 1:48AM

    Why Hamas fired a rocket on israel when they know the result will be more killing of innocent muslims in Gaza.. is hamas provoking and attack by israel in which always poor palestinian are killing? what Hamas got from this initiative? ,,,,,,,

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