Rockets Strike Gaza Hospital, Park, At Least 10 Dead

Rockets struck a Gaza hospital and park Monday evening, killing at least 10 people and injuring several more. The missile struck a park moments after another missile ripped through Gaza City’s main hospital compound, according to Palestinian officials.

Fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants continued Monday despite a major Muslim holiday and a resolution passed in the United Nations Security Council calling for an “immediate and unconditional” cease-fire in the Middle Eastern region.

USA Today reports that Ayman Sahabani, the head of the emergency room at Shifa Hospital, reported dozens were injured in the blast at the park in the Shati refugee hospital. Several more people were injured when the hospital was struck.

Sahabani and Gaza police blamed Israeli missiles for the incident, while Israeli Defense Forces blamed Hamas. On its blog, IDF wrote, “Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza Terrorists.”

The Associated Press notes that the Gaza park attack happened while children played on a swing in the refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City. Sahabani told the news agency that nine of the 10 people killed at the park were children under the age of 12. He added that 46 people were wounded in that incident.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, also denied Israel was involved, saying, “This incident was carried out by Gaza terrorists whose rockets fell short and hit the Shifa Hospital and the Beach [Shati] Camp.”

However, Gaza’s Interior Ministry spokesman Eyad al-Bozum told news reporters that he believes shrapnel found in the victims’ bodies is evidence of Israel’s involvement. He asserted, “The occupation claims that Palestinian rockets hit the hospital and park. This is an attempt to cover their ugly crime against children and civilians, and because of their fear of scandal and international legal prosecution.”

Israel claims it launched its war on Hamas July 8 to stop rocket fire from Gaza. It later broadened its air assault to a ground offensive meant at tackling Hamas’ network of tunnels. Since then, reports say more than 1,040 Palestinians, 43 Israeli soldiers, and three civilians on the Israeli side have died.

The U.N. Security Council called for a truce at its meeting early Monday and urged Israel and Hamas “to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond.”

Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour expressed his disappointment that the Security Council did not pass a binding resolution to halt the violence. He told reporters, “You cannot keep 1.8 million Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip in this huge prison. That is recipe for disaster. It is inhumane, and it has to be stopped and it has to be lifted.”

With Israel and Hamas blaming each other for the rocket attack on the Gaza park and hospital, there may be no way to tell who was responsible.

[Image by OneArmedMan]