[Marxism] Airstrike Near U.N. School Kills 10, Gaza Officials Say
lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Aug 3 08:15:02 MDT 2014
NY Times, August 3 2014
Airstrike Near U.N. School Kills 10, Gaza Officials Say
By STEVEN ERLANGER and FARES AKRAM
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military continued its substantial military
attacks around Rafah in southern Gaza on Sunday, with Palestinian
officials reporting that a strike near the entrance of a United Nations
school sheltering displaced people killed 10 people and wounded 35 others.
Witnesses said those killed or hurt were waiting in line for food
supplies when a missile hit. A photographer said the target appeared to
be a motorcycle near the entrance of the school in the center of Rafah.
About 3,000 Palestinians in the area, where the Israeli military has
been battling Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters, had been sheltering in
The Israeli military had no immediate comment, and the United Nations
said it was not immediately clear where the strike originated.
Mohammed Muafai, who works for the United Nations there, said that he
was in the school when the missile hit. In a telephone interview, he
said bodies were on the ground, including two guards and a sanitation
worker. He said seven more people from displaced families also died,
including one selling flavored ice.
Dr. Abdullah Shehada, director of the Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in
Rafah, which was vacated and whose functions were moved to a smaller
hospital, the Kuwaiti Specialized Hospital, said more than 30 of the
injured were brought to the smaller institution. “We call for halting
the Israeli operation around Abu Youssef Al-Najjar so we can return,” he
Last Wednesday, 21 Palestinians who sought refuge in a United
Nations-run school in the Jabaliya refugee camp were killed, health
ministry officials said, in a series of predawn strikes. The Israeli
military has said that it did not target the school and that Palestinian
fighters were operating within 200 yards of the shelter that morning.
After an earlier strike on a school serving as a shelter in Beit Hanoun
killed 16, the Israelis acknowledged they had fired a mortar that hit
the courtyard, which was empty at the time.
Earlier on Sunday, airstrikes killed at least 30 Palestinians, medics
and witnesses said. The deadliest strikes hit homes in Rafah and in the
Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip.
Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Health Ministry, said
that nine members of a family were killed in an air attack in Rafah. At
midnight Saturday, before the attacks on Sunday, the health ministry put
the cumulative death toll in Gaza at 1,712.
Israeli officials on Sunday defended their decision to announce the
death of a missing Israeli soldier at 2 a.m., only hours after Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on national television that he had no
new information about the case.
Army spokesmen said on Sunday that the declaration of the death of
Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, was made as soon as possible and that DNA
tests had been carried out on partial remains found after the lieutenant
and two colleagues were attacked by a Hamas squad that emerged from a
tunnel on Friday. One of the Hamas fighters had exploded a suicide belt.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, the army spokesman, said that tests were done “on
items found on the field” and in the tunnel into which the Hamas squad
had retreated with the lieutenant, including his bloody uniform, leading
to fears that he had been captured alive.
“We can’t determine if he was killed on the ground or from the blast,”
Colonel Lerner said. “The indications on the ground are that he was
killed in the initial attack.”
He said that the tests had been carried out during the Sabbath because
it was an emergency situation. The relatives of Lieutenant Goldin made
emotional appeals earlier on Saturday, before Mr. Netanyahu spoke, that
Israel and its army not leave the lieutenant behind, and they had said
they believed he was still alive.
His funeral is expected later on Sunday. Lieutenant Goldin’s case is
unlike others in which there were no remains, Colonel Lerner said,
referring to an earlier episode in which another Israeli soldier had
been feared captured and was later declared dead. The Goldin family will
have some remains to bury.
“There were remains found also in the tunnel,” Colonel Lerner said.
“That led us to think that there is the possibility that” the Hamas
squad members “have body parts.”
For its part, Hamas’s military wing, while taking credit for the
operation, said on Saturday that it had no information about the
lieutenant and had lost contact with its squad, suggesting that all
involved were dead. On Friday, Israeli forces immediately used a
protocol for captured soldiers known as “Operation Hannibal” to pursue
the Hamas squad into the tunnel and try to cut off any possibility of
Hannibal includes intense pursuit and an option to engage the enemy
“even at risk of the soldier,” Colonel Lerner said.
Israel has said that the attack occurred during an agreed cease-fire
with Hamas; Hamas has said variously that it took place before the
cease-fire went into effect and that it had never agreed to a cease-fire
that would allow Israel to continue destroying the tunnel system. But
the episode put an end to a cease-fire effort pressed by Washington and
the United Nations.
Two other Israelis were killed in the attack: a company commander, Maj.
Benaya Sarel, and a radioman, Staff Sgt. Liel Gidoni. The soldiers who
entered the tunnel said that one shaft led to a mosque and the other to
a Hamas bunker.
The Goldin family was notified of the decision to declare the lieutenant
dead by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and two officers, including the
chief military rabbi, Brig. Gen. Rafi Peretz. The relatives said that
they accepted the military’s conclusion and thanked the people of Israel
for their support. People outside the family’s house in Kfar Saba, near
Tel Aviv, were singing the Israeli national anthem, and some burst into
tears when informed of the death.
Lieutenant Goldin is a relative of Mr. Yaalon’s: Mr. Yaalon’s
grandfather and Lieutenant Goldin’s grandmother were brother and sister.
Mr. Yaalon also lectured at Lieutenant Goldin’s school. Israel’s
military censor had blocked publication of that detail of their family
relationship until the death was announced on Sunday, concerned that
Hamas might profit from that knowledge and demand a higher price for the
International journalists must agree in writing to comply with the
censorship system in order to work in Jerusalem; Friday was the first
time in more than six years that the censor had contacted The New York
Later Sunday, Mr. Yaalon posted on Twitter in Hebrew: “Hadar Goldin of
blessed memory was a member of my family. I have known him since he was
born. He and IDF fighters who fell went to battle to return the quiet
and the security to Israel. I embrace the families.”
Israel’s military operation will continue, Colonel Lerner said. “There
is no end in sight,” he said. “The reality on the ground can take us in
But he confirmed that once the operations to destroy the tunnels were
completed, which he said could take 24 hours, some Israeli troops would
redeploy away from populated areas and take up positions near the
Israeli border with Gaza. “We are moving forces to different locations,
but it will still let us carry out operational activities on the ground
as required,” he said.
On Saturday evening, Mr. Netanyahu declared that Israel was achieving
its goals and could alter its tactics. “We promised to return the quiet
to Israel’s citizens, and we will continue to act until that aim is
achieved,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “We will take as much time as necessary,
and will exert as much force as needed.”
Israel is not ending its operation unilaterally, he said, adding: “We
will deploy in the places most convenient to us to reduce friction on
I.D.F. soldiers, because we care about them.”
Israeli television reports on Saturday said that some Israel Defense
Forces troops were pulling out of Gaza, and that Israel had informed
Palestinians in Beit Lahiya and al-Atatra, in northern Gaza, that it was
now safe to return to their homes.
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