Gaza City – When Mohammad Saad learned that an Israeli air strike had killed his cousin Reema Saad, he said the news hit the family “like lightning”.
Reema, 31, her husband Mohammed Telbani, 29, and their two children were in their apartment in Gaza’s Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in the early hours of Wednesday, when an airstrike affected the residential building and destroyed his apartment.
Reema, who was four months pregnant and Zeid, five, died immediately and Mohammed later died in the intensive care unit, but the body of his three-year-old daughter, Maryam, has not yet been found. recovered from the site. of the attack. Saad said the family received no warning before the airstrike.
“I am communicating with the fire brigade and civil defense teams of Gaza to help us find Maryam and rest her and bury her near her mother, who would have wanted that,” Saad said.
The day before the airstrike had been a joyous time, with Reem visiting his family to congratulate his brother on his commitment. “The next day, she went home and was attacked,” Saad said.
The family hides the news of the murders of Mohammed Telbani’s mother, for fear she may suffer a heart attack.
The death toll is rising
Since Israel launched airstrikes against the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon, Gaza’s health ministry says at least 103 people, including 27 children, have been killed and 580 injured.
At least seven Israelis, including a child, have been killed in rocket attacks by armed groups in Gaza, ruled by the Palestinian group Hamas.
The latest escalation of violence followed weeks of tensions in East Jerusalem occupied by a now-postponed court hearing over the forced eviction of several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Friction in the city also spread to the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Israeli forces stormed for three consecutive days during the last week of Ramadan, firing tear gas and firing grenades at worshipers inside. the mosque.
Hamas issued an ultimatum on Monday demanding that Israel withdraw its forces from the compound, the third holiest site in Islam, which is also revered by Jews.
Shortly after the deadline expired, Hamas launched several rockets into Jerusalem, and Israel launched airstrikes shortly thereafter.
The Israeli military says about 1,600 rockets have been fired from Gaza into various parts of Israel since Monday.
His spokesman, Jonathan Conricus, told reporters Thursday that attacks on Gaza will continue as Israel prepares for “multiple scenarios.”
“We have ground units that are prepared and are in various stages of preparing for ground operations,” he said. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the mobilization of 9,000 more reserve troops.
Thursday was the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a religious holiday for Muslims that marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan. But instead of celebrations and joyful gatherings for families and friends, funerals were held as Hamas sent more rockets to Israel and Israeli fighter jets continued to strike the besieged enclave, including Rafah, near the border with Egypt.
In Gaza City, mourners carried the dead from the Al-Omari mosque on Thursday morning to the cemetery at the eastern end of the city. Throughout the procession, the sound of bombing airstrikes and firing rockets was heard almost constantly.
Due to the airstrikes, the condolences of the dead were only shared over the phone.
Responding users continued to remove bodies under the rubble Thursday evening. The entire Al Tanani family, including four children, was recovered from the rubble of their home in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza.
Four people, including two children, were found at the Al Rantisi family home in Rafah, local media reported.
“I hope they didn’t hear anything”
Some Palestinians have been sharing the news of their relatives killed on social media, pointing to their status as civilians.
– Mrs. 𓂆 (@BayanPalestine) May 12, 2021
Bayan Abu Sultan, 25, said his cousin Hadeel Arafa, 27, and his 50-year-old aunt, Miami, a mother of four, died while preparing for Eid at her home in Khan’s Amal neighborhood. Younis, when one strike came home around three in the afternoon on Wednesday.
There was no prior warning of an impending strike, as Miami’s brother was calling with her a few minutes before the bombing. Abu Sultan said she and Hadeel had planned to go shopping together after Ramadan, as she was supposed to get married a few days after Eid al-Fitr.
The last thing he heard from his cousin was when he shared his Facebook status, praying for the dead.
“Little did I know that soon after we will wish him exactly the same,” Abu Sultan said. “I tremble every time I think of the terror they had. I hope they didn’t hear anything. “
Israeli airstrikes have affected police headquarters and government buildings, three high-rise buildings, an ice cream factory in eastern Gaza and Deir Al-Balah’s Al-Salah school in Gaza’s central strip. .
On Wednesday, Israeli airstrikes destroyed the al-Shorouq tower, which housed media organizations. Its ruins covered the streets of Remal, the busiest shopping street in Gaza City.
The Israeli military has said it only targets multi-storey buildings that are “military targets.” Other buildings he has attacked are “strategically significant” sites belonging to Hamas, he said.
Human rights group denounces “collective punishment”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (EMHRM) said that “the widespread bombing of Israel, including civilian objects without respecting the principle of proportionality … is totally appalling.”
Israeli forces “have expanded their response to include targets on dozens of civilian objects, women and children and bomb densely populated rallies, which according to Rome’s statute, is a war crime,” he said, adding that its aim against civilian objects exceeds military needs.
Even if there was a military need to go to certain places #Gaza, is the responsibility of #Israel as an occupying power to comply with the other provisions stipulated by international humanitarian law to prevent harm to the civilian population.
– Monitor Euro-Med at OPT (@EuroMedoPt) May 12, 2021
In one of the airstrikes, Israeli forces killed Amira Abdel Fattah Subuh, 58, and her son Abd al-Rahman Yusef Subuh, 19, a young man with a disability who suffers from cerebral palsy, the group said.
Although the Israeli army later announced that it was heading to the house of a battalion commander, field investigations confirm that no one was on the target floor during the bombing, according to EMHRM.
“This incident is an example of Israel’s bombing policy that does not take into account the principle of proportionality. Israel deliberately targets civilian objects to cause harm to victims and leaves them with material losses as a form of revenge and collective punishment, prohibited by the rules of international humanitarian law. “