Shells were chasing them: Four Palestinian children killed on beach by Israeli rockets

16 July-2014, RT: Four Palestinian children were killed by rockets while playing football on Gaza beach, with local officials saying the attack came from an Israeli gunboat. Dozens of international journalists witnessed the tragedy.

Shells were chasing them: Four Palestinian children killed on beach by Israeli rockets

Shells were chasing them: Four Palestinian children killed on beach by Israeli rockets

Palestinian employees of Gaza City’s al-Deira hotel carry a wounded boy following an Israeli military strike nearby on the beach, on July 16, 2014.(AFP Photo / Thomas Coex)

“This is a cowardly crime,” said Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry.

The children have been named as Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both aged 10, Mohamed Ramez Bakr, 11, and Ismael Mohamed Bakr, 9. All those killed were relatives, while another boy is in hospital in critical condition.

“The kids were playing football on the beach,” Ahmed Abu Hassera, who witnessed the explosions along with dozens of foreign journalists located nearby, told Reuters. “When the first shell hit the land, they ran away but another shell hit them all. It looked as if the shells were chasing them.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Photos of some of the kids killed by earlier today. 

“We live by the coast. There was a headline on the news that four children were injured … so we went looking for the kids and we could not find them, so we came here to the hospital to look for them and we found them all, including my son … oh my God,” a man who introduced himself as the father of Zakaria, told NBC.

The Israeli Defense Forces have denied targeting the children, who came from the family of a fisherman whose shack on the beach was decimated by the strike.

View image on Twitter

Funeral cortège for 4 children killed by Israeli shell leaves mosque for burial just 2hrs after their deaths

“We do not target civilians, we target Hamas terrorists,” IDF representative Peter Lerner told RT.

“I have seen the footage of the incident, and indeed it does look tragic, and we will have to look into the circumstances.”

The strike brought the total of Palestinians killed by the Israeli counter-offensive to 214.

A strike on a small structure near where WSJ Middle East correspondent Nick Casey was staying Wednesday leaves several dead and the structure in tatters. Here he provides a first-hand account of the aftermath. (Photo: Getty/ Video:WSJ)