The Hajaj family has sought refuge in its home since the Israeli offensive began in the Gaza Strip on June 28. Medics said Saturday's attack killed Amna Hajaj, her 23-year-old son and six-year-old daughter. Three other members of the family were also wounded.
The Palestinians blamed Israel for the deadly attack, saying that the army deliberately fired missiles at the Palestinian house.
Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas lawmaker, accused Israel of attacking Palestinian civilians indiscriminately. "It is clear that the Zionist enemy is targeting everything that is Palestinian, and nothing and no one is off limits," he said.
On the other hand, Israeli military officials denied involvement in the attack. "There was no tank or artillery fire in the area at the time," said Capt. Jacob Dallal, an army spokesman. "Based on the initial investigation, we have eliminated our involvement."
Despite the Israeli claims, witnesses' testimony and evidence show that the attack on the Hajaj house was caused by an Israeli missile.
Amna's 12-year-old son, who was seriously injured in the attack, said that the strike took place Saturday evening when his family was drinking tea and barbecuing corn in the backyard of their home.
Speaking from Gaza City's Shifa hospital, Rani Hajaj said he heard an Israeli aircraft just before the missile hit his house. "Suddenly the drone rocketed us. The force was so great that one of my brothers was lifted over the fence. My father carried me and gave me to my sister and they called someone from the street and put me in an ambulance. I didn't feel anything at first but then it hurt a lot," he said.
Rani added that his older brothers Khaled and Shaban had been barbecuing at the time of the attack, and that his third brother, Muhammad, 27, who was killed, had been "cut to pieces". His sister Ruan, six, and his mother Amna, were also killed.
Commenting on the brutal Israeli attack, John Ging, the director of the UN relief agency UNRWA, warned that the situation in Gaza had become "dangerous and desperate" since the Israeli incursion began.
He also reiterated a call by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Israel to immediately halt its military operations in Gaza and restore depleted water and power supplies to relieve a humanitarian crisis in the Strip.
Ging, who toured northern Gaza where Israeli troops withdrew from Beit Lahiya on Saturday, leaving cut water pipes among some other damage, said: "It has come down to a struggle to survive day by day. The mood I encountered was a mixture of anger and desperation, a feeling of 'when is it going to end?'"
He said that Palestinian civilians were living with a threat "every night and day from the consequences of the military operation here" including the loss of power and water.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert won cabinet support for the Gaza offensive and for an official policy refusing to negotiate with Palestinian fighters on the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The Israeli government also rejected a call by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya for a mutual ceasefire.
More than 50 Palestinians, including many civilians, and only one Israeli soldier have been killed since Israel started its widescale offensive in Gaza last Wednesday. The ruling Hamas party, whose armed wing is part of three groups holding the Israeli soldier, has seen its government offices bombed in Israeli air strikes since the assault began.
Israel often fires into densely populated residential areas, claiming it's targeting Palestinian fighters. Just last month, 21 Palestinian civilians were killed in Gaza, though Israel claimed responsibility for only 13 of the deaths.Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16