Netanyahu orders ‘massive attacks’ on Gaza Strip, causing the death of at least 24 Palestinians, including two infants.
Gaza Strip – One-year-old Seba was killed along with her aunt in an Israeli air attack at their house in Gaza on Saturday.
With her wounded hand, Seba’s mother, 27-year-old Rasha Abu Arar, wiped her tears, ruing the incident that took place following the escalation of violation that has killed at least 24 Palestinians and four Israelis.
“Me, my cousins and their children were sitting in the house when suddenly a rocket fell on us,” a pregnant Rasha told Al Jazeera.
“I wrapped my arms around my daughter to protect her but the shrapnel injured my hand and penetrated her body,” she said as she continued sobbing.
“My three-year-old daughter, Rafeef, was also wounded and is currently in the ICU,” added the mother of six.
“What is the sin of my children? Did they throw rockets at Israel?”
Seba’s aunt, 37-year-old Falisteen, was pregnant with her 10th child and died of shrapnel wounds in her neck.
“My heart is bleeding over her orphaned kids. They are very young. How would they continue their life without their mother,” said Falisteen’s mother, Fatma.
The escalation began after Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in two separate incidents on Friday.
According to Al Jazeera’s correspondent, the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza came after an Israeli drone attack in the north of the strip early on Saturday, which injured three people.
More than 200 rockets were fired by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad towards settlements and towns in southern Israel.
Israeli warplanes and gunboats then targeted the Gaza Strip.
Explosions in Gaza City, where busy streets were packed with shoppers making preparations for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, shook buildings and sent people running for cover.
Israeli warplanes have bombed 200 sites, including military installations and facilities of Hamas, across the Gaza Strip since late on Saturday.
Two buildings in the heart of the city were totally destroyed, one of the buildings, al-Khuzendar, which was levelled down to ground.
“We were sitting in our shop that sells children’s clothes when, around 10pm, a big explosion rocked the neighbourhood. We rushed outside and saw everyone calling for the evacuation of the building,” said Mohammed al-Hadad.
“I wasn’t expecting our building to be targeted. It’s a business area near the Red Cross delegation in a decent location.”
|Israeli airplanes have bombed 200 sites, including military installations and facilities of Hamas, across the Gaza Strip since late on Saturday [Bashar Talib/Al Jazeera]|
Al-Hadad pulled out some goods from under the rubble, saying they were “stocking this in preparation for Ramadan and Eid”.
Daoud al-Khuzendar, 27, the son of the building owner, said it took just minutes for the building to collapse.
“The building was built 20 years ago. This was home, our business, and our sole source of income,” said al-Khuzendar.
“Give me one reason behind targeting our building. It was hosting a Turkish charity, cultural offices and residential apartments. Where are the terrorist targets they claim. Who will compensate us for all this?”
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered “massive strikes” on the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the leader of Hamas said his group was “not interested in a new war”.
In a statement late on Sunday, Ismail Haniya said the group was ready to “return to the state of calm” if Israel stops its attacks “and immediately starts implementing understandings about a dignified life”.