Monday, 14 July 2014

A knock on the roof, then another Gaza home destroyed by Israeli missile

From The Guardian - In a side street in Gaza's Shati camp, an Israeli warning missile has just "knocked on the roof" of Alaa Hadeedi's house, filling the road with a thin mist of smoke. A few ambulances have rushed to the scene and are waiting 100 metres or so from the house. Behind them, a crowd of wary neighbours gather to watch.

There is a sudden shout as someone hears the sound of the second missile – a live bomb this time – and the crowd surges backwards. Alaa Hadeedi's house explodes in a billowing cloud of concrete and wood fragments.

A driver by trade, Alaa Hadeedi – who was not at home when the missile hit – stored gasoline inside his house. It ignites in an orange fireball.

This is the reality of Israel's campaign of house destructions: a missile fired into a street in which perhaps 150 people are gathered barely 100 metres from the target; people anxious to help and equally anxious about their own shops and houses.

According to al-Mezan, a Gaza-based Palestinian human rights group, in the past week 869 Palestinian homes have been destroyed or damaged in similar Israeli attacks that have also claimed the lives of 173 people, many of them civilians. Even as talk of a ceasefire is growing, the attacks by both sides continue.

The way the Israeli military tells it, "knocking on the roof" is a careful and humane practice, its drone operators and pilots holding back against the risk of collateral damage. But too often it is not careful, as the civilian death toll from the last week of attacks on Gaza attests.

A mile or so from Alaa Hadeedi's house, in the same Shati neighbourhood, Dr Nasser Tatar, director general of Gaza's largest medical facility, the Shifa hospital, is examining the ruins of his own house and of his private clinic. more


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