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Hamas, Israel blame each other for explosion that killed 9 children

  • A Palestinian man carries away a girl, that was overcome by emotion, during the funeral of Muhammed Abu Shagfa, 7, killed in an explosion, in Shati refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014. An explosion killed 10 people, 9 of them children, at a park at Shati refugee camp, in northern Gaza Strip. Israeli and Palestinian authorities traded blame over the attack and fighting in the war raged on despite a major Muslim holiday. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

GAZA CITY — Hamas and Israel blamed each other for an explosion at a Gaza park Monday that killed at least 10 Palestinians — including nine children playing on a swing — in a horrific scene that underscored the heavy price civilians are paying in the conflict.

Israel's military said a rocket misfired by Gaza militants was responsible, and it later released aerial photos that it said showed the weapon's path. Gaza officials blamed Israeli airstrikes.

The blast took place on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Afterward, dozens of Palestinians crowded the spot at the park in the Shati refugee camp northwest of Gaza City, where pools of blood could be seen on the ground. Some cried out, pleading for God's mercy.

Witnesses said the youngsters had been playing on a swing set.

"The children were playing and were happy, enjoying Eid, and they got hit. Some lost their heads, others their legs and hands," Nidal Aljerbi, a witness, told The Associated Press.

Another man stood beside a pool of blood and cried: "We don't want an agreement. We don't want a cease-fire. All of us, children, women, will give our souls for God!"

In a hectic scene, Palestinians shed tears outside the doors of the morgue at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, and relatives crammed into the hall. The bodies of three children lay on shelves in the mortuary, their clothes heavily bloodstained, their flesh torn by shrapnel.

The strikes occurred on a day of heavy fighting after a temporary humanitarian cease-fire. At the same time, international efforts to end the three-week war intensified.

The streets near the park were strewn with shattered glass from homes and shops, and the ground was marked with the bloody footprints of those who helped carry the bodies to ambulances.


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