Israeli forces unleashed a wave of air strikes on the Gaza Strip over the course of three horrific days. During the attack, 45 people were killed, including 16 children, and at least 360 others were wounded.
Without providing evidence, the Israeli army has claimed that some civilian casualties were killed by misfired rockets.
The first strike launched Friday, August 5, followed by another targeted strike on Saturday.
The second strike targeted a prominent commander in southern Gaza, Khaled Mansour, who was killed when a missile struck his apartment building in the Rafah refugee camp.
Wissam Jouda, a civilian next door to the building, recounted the attack saying, “Suddenly, without warning, the house next to us was bombed, and everything became black and dusty with smoke in the blink of an eye.”
The recent attack is the worst since last year, when an 11-day war was waged, destroying buildings and taking more than 250 lives along the Gaza strip.
Gaza resident Hamed al-Hindi, 33, said, “I don’t know how long this escalation will take and how bad it will be. We couldn’t sleep last night, the sounds of explosions didn’t stop. I brought my three children to my room to keep them calm.”
On Sunday, at 11:30 p.m., an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took effect, and rockets rained down in the minutes leading to the truce.
One of the sixteen children killed during the three-day massacre was Khalil Abu Hamada. Khalil had been eating dinner with his mother and then decided to go outside to join a friend. His mother, Najwa Abu Hamadeh, 48, didn’t know that she had just had dinner with her son for the last time.
Moments after Kahlil stepped out, according to Hamadeh, “there was a strong bombardment” that shook her home and left the streets covered in dust and debris. When the smoke cleared, Hamadeh’s only son was gone.
It took five rounds of in vitro fertilization treatments for Hamadeh to conceive her only child, and it took only one missile to take her son’s life, who was found lying covered in blood next to his best friend.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Najwa continues to refer to her son in the present tense saying, “He is my only son.”
While many people in Gaza mourned the lives lost, others celebrated the end of their three-day suffering on Sunday night, but heavy gunfire broke out again on Tuesday, killing three and leaving dozens more injured. One thing is certain: With innocent men, women, and children being killed by Israeli forces every day without hesitation or compassion, it will take more than a ceasefire before peace can truly prevail between them.
Here are the names of the children that died during the strikes over the weekend:
Jamil Najm al-Deen Naijm,4
Alaa Abdullah Riyad Qaddoum, 5
Momen al-Nairab, 5
Haneen Abu Qaida, 8
Hazem Salem, 9
Ahmad al-Nairab, 11
Jamil Ihab Najim, 13
Muhammad Yasser Nimr al-Nabahin, 13
Dalia Yasser Nimr al-Nabaheen, 13
Mohammed Hassouna, 14
Hamed Haider Najim, 16
Nazmi Fayez Abu Karsh, 16
Ahmed Walid al-Farram, 16
Mohammed Salah Naijm, 17
Khalil Abu Hamada, 18