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On Gaza beach, a blast, then a second, and 4 children dead
Published Thursday 17/07/2014 (updated) 18/07/2014 10:28
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Relatives of four boys, all from the Bakr family, mourn during
their funeral in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014.(AFP Mohammed Abed)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- The sound of a blast cut through the air on Gaza's beach, drawing people out of seafront buildings to see a crowd of terrified children sprinting along the sand.

They screamed as they ran, smoke rising behind them from an Israeli strike.

Panicked onlookers shouted at them to run away from the scene, and towards the safety of a hotel.

And then another blast hit the site, there was an orange glow and more smoke.

A hut used by Palestinian fishermen was set ablaze by the strike.

The children continued to run, but some of them were left behind. Four of them were killed.

Afterwards, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra gave names of the four, all cousins: Ahed Atef Bakr, aged 10, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, also 10. Mohamed Ramez Bakr, nine, and Ismail Mohamed Bakr, 11.

The other children, some crying, and others bleeding, ran into a hotel, where staff and journalists scrambled to help them.

Thirteen-year-old Hamed Bakr had shrapnel in his chest and was crying, "It hurts, my chest hurts."

Those present worked to clean and dress his wounds and those of two other injured children while ambulances were called.

It was unclear if Wednesday's strikes were the result of naval shelling, which frequently hits part of the Gaza coastline, or from Israeli warplanes.


'Tragic outcome'

Several hours after the strikes, the Israeli military in a statement described the deaths as "tragic" and said it was investigating the incident.

"Based on preliminary results the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives," the statement said.

"The reported civilian casualties from this strike are a tragic outcome."

At least 220 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the nine days since the start of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas running the coastal strip.

Militants in Gaza have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, killing one.

The four bodies of the children were later taken to Abu Hasira mosque, near where the boys had died.

The boys were laid out, wrapped in the yellow flags of the Fatah party -- the Palestinian rival to the Hamas movement -- in front of mourners.

"We come from God and to God we shall return," the imam overseeing the funeral prayers said.

Relative Khamis Bakr, 47, shook with anger as he spoke.

"They were playing on the beach, they'd gone there to get away from Beach Camp because there was a lot of shelling there," he said.

"They walked right into their deaths."

Zakaria's grandfather pushed through the mourners to the four small bodies and kneeled down, apparently in shock.

"The children were just playing, they had told one of their mothers that they were going to the beach," he said.

"We didn't know anything had happened, and then we heard on the radio that there had been a strike, and people from the Bakr family had been killed.

"And then I knew that the children were gone."
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1 ) Mel / USA
17/07/2014 16:26
Cont:And of course Israel doesn't care who it kills.
ANYONE who resists the "supreme" Zionist Plan is marked with cross-hairs(incld.intrnt & politicians).All 'options on the table'!
-Palestinian(Goy)Muslims are a priority(whether they comply or not)
-Palestinian(Goy)Christians(in Bantustan Old Bethlehem)would be next.
And of course,any Jews(incld."arsim" &"smolinim")who are anti-Zionist,anti- fascist,or anti-Zionist-Israeli occupation&brutality! Gosh,Zionist Israel is SO XENOPHOBIC PARANOID

2 ) Mel / USA
17/07/2014 18:27
Cont:& HOW DARE U Obama,spout about being"heatbroken"re:Gazan deaths.And still spew,"Israel has a right to defend itself from a barrage of rockets"? WHAT?YOU COLLUSIONIST HYPOCRITE! SAME AS ALL D.C.! You don't speak of MILLIONS OF PALESTINIAN'S(67YRS)"RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF" from Israel's 100 TONS(so far)of US-funded)F16,DRONE,TANK GUIDED MISSILES/MORTARS on 1.8 MILL Gazans(46% children).
HOW MUCH ARE U GETTING PAID MR.POTUS,TO INSULT YOUR OWN CHILDREN by your SICK "heartbreaking" BIAS!

3 ) Levi / USA
17/07/2014 18:27
Are we sure it was an Israel missile that killed those 4 children and not a Hamas one that they hide among its civilian population?

4 ) Levi / USA
17/07/2014 18:31
20 missiles were found today in UNRWA school in Gaza. Who planted those missiles there, among children and adults? What of any of those missiles went off for one reason or another and kills several children and adults. Whom will Hamas blame then for their vile and cowardly acts?

5 ) Maureen / Australia
17/07/2014 21:36
ABC News Australia, interview with one of the international journalists who witnessed the Zionist massacre ont the Gaza beach said that they had not seen any rockets fired or any men with weapons of any kind in that area for the nine days they had been present in the beach area. To be sure, lying Zionazi military junta would have said 'Hamas militants were in the area' if there had not been international witnesses present!

6 ) @ Mel-1 / USA too
17/07/2014 21:44
Truthfully, the State of Israel targets only Islamic militants*, and
It is actually the Islamic militants who do not care who get kills !!

* Israel always regrets the loss of innocent lives, and
* Islamic Militants are targeted in self-defense,
to prevent the commision of war crimes upon Israel's civilians, and
Gaza civilians are hurt because of the Islamic militants' other war crimes,
of using Gaza civilians as "Human-shields".
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