Seven Palestinian Children Killed in Strawberry Fields by Israeli Anti-Personnel Shells
The Palestinian Non-Governmental Network (PNGO) 5jan05
Israeli anti-personnel shells, which throw out thousands of metal darts in a deadly cloud that rips apart everything it encounters, killed seven children between the ages of ten and 17 in a strawberry field in northern Gaza yesterday. Dr. Mohamed Sultan of the Beit Lahiya hospital said eleven were also wounded, four critically. Two of the survivors had double leg amputations, another a single leg amputation.
According to eyewitnesses, Israeli occupation military posts between the illegal Israeli settlements of Elei Sinai and Nisanit, located north of the Palestinian town of Beit Lahiya, fired a tank shell at a Palestinian agricultural area south of the fence that separates the two settlements from Beit Lahiya. The shell directly hit a number of Palestinian children who were farming their land.
Six of the boys who were killed were from the same family, and three were brothers. The names of the dead children are: Hani Mohammed Ghaben (17), and his brothers Bassam (14) and Mohammed (12); their cousins Rajeh Ghassan Ghaben (10), Jaber Abdullah Ghaben (15), Mohammed Hassan Ghaben (17); and a neighbor named Jibril Abdul Fattah al-Kaseeh (16).
The father of the three dead brothers was among the villagers who came to see the effects of the shelling. When he reached the site, he was shocked to see the scattered and bloody remains of his dead children. Medical staff and family members gathered the shredded body part of the children from the grass and clay.
Israeli violence has intensified in the run-up to the first Palestinian presidential elections in eight years. Since Yasser Arafat died, during a much-vaunted ‘window of opportunity for peace’, more than 75 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, many of them children. In the same period, no Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinians.
The bodies of eight Palestinians, most of them teenagers and seven of them killed by two Israeli tank shells earlier can be seen at the morgue in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, Tuesday Jan. 4, 2005. The shells, which were fired in response to Palestinian militants mortar attacks into Israel earlier, slammed into fields as farmers were picking potatoes and strawberries, witnesses said. The death of the eighth person is unrelated to the incident. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)