A rocket which hit the largest hospital in Gaza was fired by “terrorists” in the region, the Israel Defence Forces spokesperson claimed.
The IDF also said another rocket which hit a refugee camp, killing at least five people, was fired by “terrorists” in Gaza.
As many as 10 children have been killed by a missile while playing in the street at Beach refugee camp; Shifa hospital compound also reportedly hit. Israel denies responsibility
As many as 10 children were killed on Monday when they were hit by a missile as they were playing in the street at a Gaza refugee camp.
Israeli and Gazan officials traded blame for the deaths, as it was reported a missile also hit the compound housing the biggest hospital in Gaza.
The Telegraph witnessed the aftermath of the scene at the Beach Refugee Camp, where blood and human remains were in evidence as bodies were ferried to hospital. Ayman Sahabani, head of the emergency room at Shifa hospital, said the children had been playing on swings when they were hit, adding that another 46 people were wounded.
Palestinian officials said the strike on Shifa Hospital had also caused casualties though there was no immediate word of how many. It appeared that reported missile did not hit the main hospital but a building inside the front gates.
The Israeli army denied responsibility, claiming the two sites had been hit instead by rockets misfired by Hamas itself. It later issued a warning for Palestinians in the area of Gaza City to flee.
“This incident was carried out by Gaza terrorists whose rockets fell short and hit the Shifa Hospital and the Beach (Shati) camp,” Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, said.
Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the government’s coordinator in the territories, said the casualties had resulted from rockets belonging to Islamic Jihad, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
There were also reports of the first multiple civilian casualties in Israel. Media said that seven or eight Israelis had been hit by a mortar in the Eshkol region near the Gaza border, some of them fatally, though the army did not immediately confirm this and there were some suggestions that those hit might have been members of the military.
International pressure has been building for an end to the conflict in Gaza after the UN Security Council called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, backing a similar plea from President Barack Obama.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday demanded that Israel and Hamas end the violence “in the name of humanity.”
He accused both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal of being “morally wrong” for allowing the civilian deaths.
He said “Gaza is in critical condition” after the bombardment by Israeli forces that has killed hundreds of residents and raised “serious questions about proportionality”.
The war, now in its 21st day, has killed more than 1,030 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to the Palestinian health ministry. More than 220 children have reportedly died.
Israel has lost 43 soldiers, as well as two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker killed by rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza, according to the Israeli military.