Middle East

Israeli strikes kill Palestinians observing Ramadan in Gaza, eyewitnesses say

From CNN’s Mohammad Al Sawalhi, Abeer Salman and Sana Noor Haq

An Israeli airstrike late Sunday killed at least 21 Palestinians at Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, including six women and 10 children, according to the local Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. Worshipers were performing nightly taraweeh prayers around that time, one eyewitness told CNN.

“We prayed taraweeh together with the children. Suddenly, airstrikes started bombarding the area,” said Darwish Abu Al-Khair. “I am a pediatrician, and I came here with my family seeking safety. They said Deir al-Balah is safe. Where should we go?

We are all civilians. We have nothing to do with Hamas or Islamic Jihad or anyone. We are just Palestinians.” 

Phone torches lit up the black sky over Deir al-Balah, as dozens of Palestinians scoured for survivors following the airstrike in the rubble of a blown-out residential building.

Further south, in the city of Rafah, a barrage of Israeli airstrikes killed at least 30 civilians, including 11 women and 10 children, according to the Palestine Center for Human Rights. Eight members of the Al Kurdi family were killed after their home in the Al Jeneina neighborhood was struck at iftar time – when worshipers break their fast at sundown.

“People were eating,” one man at the local Abu Yousef Al Najjar hospital, where bodies of the dead had arrived, told CNN. “Look around, it’s children and young people. No one got the chance to break their fast.”

What the IDF says: Responding to CNN’s questions about the attack on Deir al-Balah, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it is “operating to dismantle Hamas military and administrative capabilities.” CNN has reached out to the IDF regarding the attacks on civilian homes in Rafah and has not yet heard back. CNN is unable to independently verify the figures due to lack of access to the Gaza Strip.

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