Friday, January 9, 2009

Bombed bread and white phosphorus

Gaza blogger In Gaza: Across Fakoura street from the school, about 15 metres down a drive, a gaping hole in the Deeb house revealed what had been happening when it was hit by a shell. Rounds of bread dough lay where they'd been rolled out to bake. Amal Deeb was in her thirties, a surviving family member told us. When the missile struck, it killed her and 9 others in the extended-family house, including 2 boys and 3 girls. Another 4 were injured, one having both legs amputated.

The Times [UK]: Photographic evidence has emerged that proves that Israel has been using controversial white phosphorus shells during its offensive in Gaza, despite official denials by the Israel Defence Forces. There is also evidence that the rounds have injured Palestinian civilians, causing severe burns. The use of white phosphorus against civilians is prohibited under international law. The Times has identified stockpiles of shells... clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made WP munition... Muhammed Azayzeh, 28, an emergency medical technician in the city, said: 'The burns are very unusual. They don't look like burns we have normally seen. They are third-level burns that we can't seem to control.'

Emergency workers said they rescued 100 more trapped survivors Thursday and found between 40 and 50 corpses in a devastated residential block south of Gaza City that the Israeli military had kept off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross for four days. 'There are still people under demolished houses -- we are sure of it,' said Khaled Abuzaid, an ambulance driver for the Red Cross who treated survivors at the site Wednesday and Thursday. 'But without water or electricity, we are sure they will die.'... Abuzaid said rescue workers found 16 bodies Wednesday in a large room of a house in Zaytoun: seven women, six children and three men, all members of the al-Samuni family. Most had sustained trauma injuries from shelling, but many had gunshot wounds as well, he said. Four children, weak but alive, were found lying under blankets, nestled next to their dead mothers.

Financial Times: Gaza's children, who make up more than half of the 1.5m inhabitants of the impoverished territory, were shell-shocked, relief workers warned. 'They are terrified -- the bombing is around the clock and there is no rest at all,' said Sajy Elmughanni, a co-ordinator for the United Nations Children's Fund. 'This could impact on the children for months or years afterwards.'... Parents say children have lost their appetites, cling to them, wet beds and have recurring nightmares. They also suffer from the cold, especially at night, as most windows are kept open to avoid them shattering during bombardments. There is little escape from the sounds of war... Even before the Israeli attacks began, some 50,000 children were suffering from malnutrition in Gaza, amid the crippling blockade of the territory.
Image source: In Gaza