Israel's shelling of Gaza mall leaves shop owners in shock

Israeli warplanes leveled the only mall in the Gaza Strip's Rafah city to the ground a day earlier

Israel's shelling of Gaza mall leaves shop owners in shock

World Bulletin/News Desk

Shop owners in the Gaza Strip's Rafah town were left in disbelief one day after an Israeli shelling completely destroyed the city's only shopping mall.

"We never expected that the mall would be shelled," Zuhai Abu Taha, who owned several apparel stores in the shopping center, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.

The five-story building was leveled to the ground Saturday night by a barrage of rockets fired by Israeli warplanes.

Abu Taha, 52, said he lost $700,000 after his shops and merchandise were destroyed in the Israeli shelling of the mall, which extended over some 1000 square meters.

The material damage from Israel's shelling of the mall in the southern Rafah city amounted to $20 million, according to a statement by the city's local authority.

"This mall was Rafah's landmark," Abu Taha said. "The city will be totally paralyzed now that it was destroyed."

Another shop owner, Radwan al-Tawil, said he suffered a $200,000 loss after his print shop which he owned for 11 years was destroyed in the Israeli strike. "I never expected that my shop would be targeted by Israel," al-Tawil, 57, asserted.

The top floor of the Rafah shopping center was the target of an Israeli strike earlier during the offensive, which coincided with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and Eid holiday as well as the approaching of the new school year.

"I was waiting for the war to end so I could sell all the merchandize I bought on credit ahead of the Eid and the school year," Abu Taha said.

He, however, went on to say that his losses will not deter him from seeing through Israel's "pressure."

"Israel is targeting [Gazans'] sources of income to turn them against the resistance," he said. "But that would never happen."

Death toll reaches 2110

A Palestinian was killed Sunday when Israeli warplanes targeted a vehicle in central Gaza City, the Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed.

"Mohamed al-Ghoul, 30, was killed in the Israeli attack," ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

This brings to 2110 the total number of Palestinians, mostly civilians, killed in Israeli attacks on the blockaded Gaza Strip since July 7.

Meanwhile, five Israelis were injured on Monday when mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip fell near Erez border crossing in the southern Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, an Israeli military official said.

Two of those injured were taken to Barzilai hospital in a serious condition, the official was quoted by Israeli daily Haaretz as saying.

Palestinian resistance factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad have claimed responsibility for salvos of rockets fired at Israeli cities.

In separate statements, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said its fighters struck the Erez border crossing with a barrage of 18 mortar shells.

Al-Qassam also said it had fired rockets at several Israeli sites, including Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, Israel's biggest.

Meanwhile, the Saraya al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's armed wing, also claimed rocket attacks at several Israeli cities, including Beersheba and Ashdod.

Hostilities flared again on August 19 between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip following the collapse of indirect, Egypt-hosted talks aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire deal.

While Israel accused Hamas of violating a temporary ceasefire, the resistance faction accused the self-proclaimed Jewish state of attempting to derail the Cairo talks.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ağustos 2014, 17:24

Muhammed Öylek