Cross-posted from Wallwritings
Injured Hamada Baker, taken on the terrace of the Gaza beach hotel, where he was treated.
(image by Washington Post / Islam Abdel Karim.)
One day after a U.S. congressional committee voted to send more U.S. tax dollars to bolster Israel's Iron Dome shield, four Palestinian boys were killed on an open beach by Israeli shelling from a naval ship offshore.
Defense for Children International reported on the Israeli shelling:
"Eight children in Gaza were killed on Wednesday [July 16], including four boys who died as they were playing on the beach in Gaza City when they were directly targeted by the Israeli navy. Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip has killed at least 45 children according to DCI-Palestine documentation."
DCI-Palestine identified the four boys killed, as Zakariya Ahed Subhi Baker, 10; Ahed Atef Ahed Baker, 9; Ismail Mohammad Subhi Baker, 9; and Mohammad Ramez Ezzat Baker, 11. The boys were all cousins from local families. They had been playing with a soccer ball on the beach in Gaza City's harbor before they were killed in a missile strike just after 4 pm.
Hamada Baker, 13, was struck by shrapnel from one of the missiles fired from the Israeli ship. He and other boys ran or were carried, to the al Deira Hotel next to the beach where the four boys were killed.
Many western journalists, housed at the hotel, helped the wounded with first aid kits they brought down to the hotel terrace. One of them was William Booth of the Washington Post. Booth filed his account of the attack:
"I had just returned to the hotel to type up some notes and file inserts on the day's news when there was a large explosion on the quay at the port, a little after 4 o' clock in the afternoon... We saw a small fisherman's shack on the quay, churning with gray smoke.
"Then we saw a gang of kids running from the shack, down the breakwater and onto the sand, hurtling toward al-Deira.
"A couple of waiters, the cook and a few journalists started waving at them. 'Run here!'
"Then a second strike landed right behind them. The staff were yelling, 'They're hurt!'
"A half-dozen kids made it to the hotel. A young man also reached safety and fainted. He was bleeding from the abdomen. He was scooped up and carried to a taxi by a big, friendly bear of a bellman, room cleaner and night watchman named Mahmoud Abu Zbaidah.
"Two young terrified kids (one of whom is pictured above) were bleeding and injured, and they were quickly bandaged on the floor of the terrace, where guests usually eat skewers of grilled chicken, suck on water pipes and watch the sun go down.
"The kids suffered from shrapnel wounds, one to the head, one to the chest. They were treated by translators, hotel staff and journalists, who ran up to their rooms to grab medical kits.
"On the quay, ambulances took away four more. They either died on the pier or at the hospital, I am not sure. The Gaza Health Ministry tweeted their names a few minutes later. ... All cousins, we are told, scrawny fishermen's kids whom we saw every day, running around on the beach, playing in the waves."
Booth's eye-witness account ran in the July 17 Washington Post, a daily newspaper which is a must-read for Washington elected officials and government personnel. In his story, Booth included the usual pro-forma response from the IDF:
"Later, the Israel Defense Forces issued a statement calling the civilian casualties 'a tragic outcome,' saying the target of the strike was 'Hamas terrorist operatives.' They promised that the incident would be investigated but blamed Hamas for its 'cynical exploitation of a population held hostage.'"