A grieving Palestinian father has said his children were killed “without any warning” after an Israeli bombardment struck a house in Gaza City.
Eight children aged 14 and under and two women were killed instantly when the three-storey building, located in the Shati refugee camp, was struck at around 1.30am on Saturday.
Mohammed Hadidi told reporters that his wife and five children had gone to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday with her brother’s wife and three of their children.
“The Israelis hit the house without any eviction, without any warning, without any calls, without anything,” he said.
“All the people are in the neighbourhood. And they are peaceful in their houses. They are all children.”
He said the eight children killed were aged between five and 14-years-old, and were his sons and the sons of his brother-in-law.
Mr Hadidi said his five-month-old son, Omar, is the only known survivor, while 11-year-old Yahya is still missing.
He said Omar was protected by God “from the three floors”, adding: “He’s five months old and he is injured at al-Shifa hospital now. And the rest are gone.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel is doing everything to avoid harming those not involved in the Hamas strikes against his country, including a rocket attack that killed one Israeli near Tel Aviv.
Another Israeli strike on Saturday toppled a media building in Gaza, but journalists were able to escape after the occupants were given an hour’s notice to evacuate.
But children’s toys and a Monopoly board game could be seen among the rubble inside the destroyed building in the refugee camp, along with plates of uneaten food from the holiday gathering.
Mr Hadidi continued: “There is no future. There is no future from the beginning.
“Those are children, they didn’t fire any rockets or hit any jeeps or do any bombings.
“They were wearing their Eid clothes and going to celebrate Eid. You hit them while they’re asleep? While being peaceful in their house? Call them and they will leave.”
Mr Hadidi described the attacks on Palestine, which have been met by retaliatory strikes by Gaza’s ruling militant Hamas group, as a “crime against humanity, an international crime”.
He added: “We can hear the airstrikes. Who knows who’s going to die. Maybe we get up and start walking and die. There is no security because of the Israelis and their supporters.
“I deliver a message to the free people of the world, who have some humanity, those are children.
“What have they done? This is not the first war for us. This is the fourth war. And this isn’t the first family to lose their children and not the last.”
But he said “this is God’s destiny and we accept it”, adding he counts the children who died as “martyrs”.
The Israel-Palestinian hostilities are now in their sixth day and diplomatic efforts to stop the violence are intensifying, including a phone call between Mr Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden.
At least 139 people have now died in Gaza, including 39 children and 22 women, as the death toll rose overnight, according to Palestinian health officials.
Nine people – including two children and a soldier – have died on the Israeli side.