Israel asks Gazans to flee

Israel army sends text messages warning Palestinians

Gaza City, Palestinian Territories: 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 fishermen was set on fire by the strike.

The children continued to run, but some of them were left behind. Four of them — Ahed Atef Bakr, 10, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, 10, Mohamed Ramez Bakr, 9, and Ismail Mohamed Bakr, 11 — were killed.

Meanwhile, at Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital near Gaza City, a handful of doctors and nurses hover over paralysed patients, wondering how to protect them from more air strikes as threatened by Israel.

The patients lie mostly inert in beds lined up in the hospital’s reception, where staff moved them after an Israeli rocket crashed into the fourth floor. The staff have appealed to international agencies for protection, and say the hospital is known to the Israeli army.

But it was hit again on Tuesday night. The overall death toll has reached 213, the emergency services said. On Wednesday, Israel told 100,000 Gazans to flee their homes but the warning was largely ignored, as regional leaders made fresh attempts to end the bloody nine-day confrontation.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas was due both in Cairo and later Ankara in search of regional support for an immediate end to the fighting. The Israeli military sent text messages warning 100,000 people in northeastern Gaza to evacuate their homes ahead of an air campaign targeting “terror sites and operatives” in Zeitun and Shejaiya in Gaza City. An identical message was sent to Beit Lahiya in the northern part.

( Source : AFP )
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