Witnesses to an Israeli airstrike on a refugee camp in Gaza have described a chaotic and heartbreaking scene, with children carrying other injured children in an attempt to save them from death and destruction. “It was a horrible sight,” said Amal al-Shanti, a local resident. “The entire area was full of dust and smoke, with panic and fear everywhere. All you could hear were the screams of children and the cries of mothers.”
The airstrike, which occurred on Wednesday morning, targeted a densely populated area of the refugee camp, where many people had taken shelter in small concrete houses. Abdel Karim Hamdan, a 40-year-old father of four, said the impact of the strike caused the walls of two of his neighbor’s homes to collapse.
“We heard a loud explosion and the whole area shook,” he said. “I opened the door and saw people running away in panic. I saw two children carrying another injured child, trying to get away from the blast site.”
Palestinian health officials said the airstrike killed 11 people, including eight children, and wounded at least 37. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the airstrike. The Israeli Defense Forces have so far declined to comment.
The ongoing violence between Israel and the Palestinians has raised fears that a new war could erupt. Yet, in the rubble of the airstrike, a hopeful spirit was still visible among the community members. “Despite the hurt and pain, no one was talking about revenge,” said Amal al-Shanti. “Everyone here is asking for peace.