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Israeli Shelling Kills 4 Children on Gaza Beach

Four children, all members of the same family, were killed today after two proposed ceasefire agreements failed to accomplish anything.
Photo by Dylan Collins

UPDATE: Israeli officials said that they will temporarily suspend strikes in Gaza for a five-hour "humanitarian window" on Thursday, but warned hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents not to return to their homes after that window closes at 3pm.

When the scheduled window ends at 15:00, Beit Lahyia, Shuja'iya & Zeitoun residents, for their own safety, should not return to their homes.

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson)July 16, 2014


A day after a unilateral ceasefire collapsed in a matter of hours, Israel resumed strikes over Gaza, which have already killed more than 200 people, and urged local residents to leave their homes as it prepares to launch a ground operation.

Watch the VICE News Dispatch from Gaza here

On Wednesday, strikes were reported across the Gaza strip, including one near the port in Gaza City that killed four children, all members of a popular local family of fishermen. The kids were named as Ahed Baker, 11, Muhammed Baker, 11, Zakaria Baker, 10, and Ismail Baker, 9. They were at the beach when the strikes occurred, as were dozens of foreign journalists who are staying in a nearby hotel.

A — Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM)July 16, 2014

The graphic video below, shared by local media, shows the aftermath of the beach attack, and the young victims being carried away on stretchers.

The photos below show relatives at the young victims' funerals.

Photos by Momen Faiz

In a statement released on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch condemned Israel's airstrikes targeting civilians as "unlawful."

“Israel’s rhetoric is all about precision attacks, but attacks with no military target and many civilian deaths can hardly be considered precise,” Sarah Leah Whitson, the watchdog's Middle East director said in a statement. “Recent documented cases in Gaza sadly fit Israel’s long record of unlawful airstrikes with high civilian casualties.”

The group, which also called for an end to indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, said that Israeli officials have regularly claimed that civilian members of Hamas or other groups with no military role are "terrorists" and have targeted them as such. It also accused the Israeli military of regularly attacking homes of alleged Hamas members without showing they were used for military purposes.


On its Twitter account, the IDF defended itself, listing a series of measures it says it takes to prevent civilian casualties.

Exhibit A: What we do to avoid civilian casualties Exhibit B: What Hamas does to avoid civilian casualties RETWEET. — IDF (@IDFSpokesperson)July 16, 2014

The videos below, shared by local media and residents, show the aftermath of a different strike on Wednesday in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, which reportedly killed three people, and an early morning strike on Gaza's interior ministry. More than 40 airstrikes were reported in Gaza overnight.

Following the collapse of Tuesday's ceasefire, Israeli officials said they would step up their military operations, and warned about 100,000 residents of the Shejaia and Zeitoun districts to evacuate their homes — a first in the nine-day conflict.

The Israeli Air Force air-dropped fliers over the strip, as shown in this video shared by the IDF:

See photos of Gaza under siege here.

Meanwhile, Hamas, which said it was never consulted about the Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal, continued to fire rockets into Israel, killing one civilian Tuesday.

Following the collapsed ceasefire agreement between Israel and Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad reportedly set their own 10 conditions for a ceasefire, which included a 10-year truce in exchange for the lifting of the siege on Gaza and the release of Palestinians prisoners arrested in the sweeping raids carried out during the search for three young Israeli settlers who were later found dead — including prisoners who had previously been exchanged in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.

Follow Alice Speri on Twitter: @alicesperi

Dylan Collins contributed reporting from Gaza.

CORRECTION: The Palestinian children were killed by Israeli shelling, not an airstrike.