According to reports, an Israeli missile strike killed four Palestinian children on a beach in Gaza today. Both The Guardian's Peter Beaumont and the Washington Post's William Booth offered a first-person accounts of the immediate aftermath of two explosions that took place earlier today. From Booth's dispatch:
On the quay, ambulances took away four more. They either died on the pier or at the hospital, I am not sure. The Gaza Health Ministry tweeted their names a few minutes later: Mohammed Baker, 9; Ahed Baker, 10; Zakaria Baker, 10; and Mohammed Baker, 11.
All cousins, we are told, scrawny fishermen’s kids whom we saw every day, running around on the beach, playing in the waves.
There are also photos quickly making the rounds on the internet:
While the Times of Israel said the images could not be independently confirmed, New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks tweeted that he witnessed the attack firsthand.
Witnessed 3 young boys killed by Israeli ordinance on an otherwise empty beach this afternoon in Gaza City.— Tyler Hicks (@TylerHicksPhoto) July 16, 2014
Local media have provided a very graphic video of the aftermath. According to Israeli radio, the IDF has appointed an investigator to look into the strike.
In a press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who is visiting the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placed the blame for the deaths at the feet of Hamas for rejecting the Egyptian ceasefire on Tuesday. Israel's cabinet voted to accept the proposal, which was endorsed by the Arab League, the Palestinian Authority, the U.S., and the United Nations.