Gaza's Rafah ravaged by Israeli attack

The Israeli army started shelling the city only three hours into a 72-hour humanitarian truce that kicked off at 0500 GMT on Friday

Gaza's Rafah ravaged by Israeli attack

World Bulletin/News Desk

In the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, death and devastation have manifested themselves in each and every street by Saturday morning, following an overwhelming day-long Israeli shelling that left scores of Palestinians dead and thousands besieged.

The bodies of some of the dead victims still lie on the streets, while the wounded bleed as aid responders and relief workers find no safe passages into the city.

"We had to put some bodies in vegetable refrigerators," Amgad Abu Eita, a resident of Rafah city, told Anadolu Agency by phone.
"We don't even know the number of people who are trapped under the rubble," he added.

"This is more than just a massacre," Abu Eita affirmed. "We've no hospitals anymore and we're trapped here."

Israeli warplanes have been pounding Rafah with barrages of missiles over the past 24 hours.

The Israeli army started shelling the city only three hours into a 72-hour humanitarian truce that kicked off at 0500 GMT on Friday.

Israel accused the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas of violating the ceasefire, claiming that Hamas fighters had killed two soldiers and captured a third in Rafah after the truce went into effect.

Hamas, for its part, said the incident had occurred prior to the ceasefire, accusing Israel of using it to "gloss over its massacre" in Rafah.

After the attack, Palestinian health officials in Rafah evacuated the city's largest hospital after it was shelled by Israel during the assault.

The intensity of bombardments around the entire city made it impossible for anybody to flee the carnage, leaving shell-shocked families and ambulance vehicles trapped.

"I've seen wounded people bleeding to death on the street through my balcony," Sohad Khedr said, her voice barely audible amid missile blasts.

"The bombings intensify with every new minute," she added.

Palestinian Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra described Israel's attack on Rafah as a "war crime".

He called on international actors to press for providing safe passage for ambulances to carry the wounded to the nearby Khan Younis city

"Medical teams which headed to Rafah still cannot enter the city," al-Qodra said.

Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip with aerial, naval and ground assaults for nearly a month now, with the stated aim of undermining rocket-firing capabilities by Palestinian factions.

The offensive has left at least 1660 Palestinians – mostly civilians – dead and nearly 9000 injured.

The death toll from Israel's current offensive, dubbed "Protective Edge," has surpassed the combined total of two other major operations in the past six years, including 2008/9's operation "Cast Lead" which killed at least 1500 Palestinians in three weeks.

According to Israeli figures, at least 63 soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in Gaza and three civilians by rocket fire.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Ağustos 2014, 10:04

Muhammed Öylek