Amid Gaza ceasefire calm, 147 dead bodies found
Published Saturday 26/07/2014 (updated) 27/07/2014 16:56
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- No sooner had the 12-hour ceasefire began on Saturday morning, than Gazans hurried to look for survivors and dead bodies buried under the rubble of thousands of homes destroyed by Israeli airstrikes and artillery shelling.
Ambulances, rescue teams, and families fanned out across the coastal enclave to search for the injured and for loved ones, particularly in the eastern outskirts that have been subject to intense Israeli fire in recent days.
Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said at 11:00 p.m. that 147 dead bodies had been pulled out of the rubble so far.
Al-Qidra told Ma'an that Israeli forces had refused to allow ambulances and rescue teams access to the village of Khuzaa and other border areas in order to look for survivors and dead bodies.
The Lebanese al-Mayadeen satellite TV reported that at least ten dead bodies were pulled from debris in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
The channel quoted sources in the International Red Cross Committee as saying that rescue teams and ambulances were unable to access Khuzaa and that coordination with the Israeli forces was underway.
An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that Palestinians in the Khan Younis area had been told to leave their homes days ago and told not to return during the ceasefire, and that therefore rescue teams were "not allowed to search" in parts of the southern Gaza Strip.
Khuzaa has been subject to heavy Israeli shelling in recent days, with dozens killed and many more thought to be buried under the rubble since teams have been unable to access the bodies.