His face is twisted with anguish, his hands grab at his shirt near his heart; there is no sound, but the pained cry escaping his mouth can almost be heard.
This is a photograph of the father of one of the four young boys who was killed by an Israeli strike in Gaza Wednesday. The boys, all cousins and all under the age of 12, had been playing soccer on the beach when the attack occurred. The man’s picture, by photographer Hosam Salem, was taken during the boys’ funeral.
In the aftermath of the four boys’ deaths, both Israel and Hamas ceased fighting for five hours Thursday for a humanitarian truce requested by the United Nations, Reuters reports. The brief cease-fire, however, has since come to an end, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday that his country's military has launched a ground offensive in Gaza.
More than 160 civilians, including more than 40 children, have been killed in Gaza since July 7, when Israel launched its anti-Hamas military operation. "According to preliminary information, 77 [percent] of Palestinian fatalities so far have been civilians, raising concerns about respect for international humanitarian law," the UN wrote in a July 16 report.
The Israeli military has reportedly launched an investigation into the strike that killed the four cousins. They say the strike had been intended for Hamas militants and called the children’s deaths a “tragic outcome,” per ABC News.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch called for the Israeli military to "end unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property."
"Deliberate or reckless attacks violating the laws of war are war crimes,” the organization wrote on its website, adding that "Palestinian armed groups also should end indiscriminate rocket attacks launched toward Israeli population centers."
Tyler Hicks, a New York Times photojournalist who was in a nearby hotel when the Gaza beach strike occurred and photographed the boys' bodies as they were carried away, wrote in an essay Thursday that "there is no safe place in Gaza right now."
“Bombs can land at any time, anywhere,” he wrote. “A small metal shack with no electricity or running water on a jetty in the blazing seaside sun does not seem like the kind of place frequented by Hamas militants, the Israel Defense Forces’ intended targets. Children, maybe four feet tall, dressed in summer clothes, running from an explosion, don’t fit the description of Hamas fighters, either.”
In the hours after the four boys' deaths, Gaza was overcome with grief and fury. According to CNN, hundreds of people attended the children's funeral Wednesday and "angry chants filled the air."
Below are more heart-wrenching images of the boys' relatives, as well as photos from their funeral:
The father and mother of one of the four boys killed during Israeli shelling react outside the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014.
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) July 16, 2014
The mother of one of the four boys, all from the Bakr family, killed during Israeli shelling, collapses outside the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014.
Palestinian mourners shout slogans during the funeral of four boys, all from the Bakr family, in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014.
— benwedeman (@bencnn) July 16, 2014
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08/08/2014 2:47 PM EDT
White House Concerned By Renewed Fighting
The White House on Friday urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume talks and do what they can to protect civilians after Egyptian-mediated negotiations failed to extend a ceasefire and rocket fire resumed.
"The United States is very concerned about today's developments in Gaza," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
"We condemn the renewed rocket fire and we are concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides of that conflict," he said.
08/08/2014 1:42 PM EDT
Official: 5 Palestinians Killed In Gaza
Five Palestinians, including a 10-year-old boy, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since a ceasefire fell apart on Friday, a Palestinian medical official reported to Agence France Presse.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army said Palestinian militants fired 35 rockets into Israel on Friday, injuring a soldier and a civilian.
The father of a ten-year old Palestinian boy, who was killed in an Israeli air strike on the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in northern Gaza City, mourns at the city's Al-Shifa hospital, on August 8, 2014. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
08/08/2014 9:23 AM EDT
Palestinian Delegation Says Gaza Talks Will Continue
Palestinian factions will remain in Cairo and press on with Egyptian-mediated talks despite the end of the ceasefire in Gaza, the head of the delegation, Fatah official Azzam Ahmed, said on Friday.
"We are not for escalation. We are ready to continue through our Egyptian brothers in negotiating to reach a final agreement that would return the rights to their owners," Ahmed said. "I mean here lifting the blockade of Gaza."
Ahmed said Palestinian negotiators were due to meet Egyptian intelligence officials, who have been mediating the talks, later in the day. He said Palestinian factions were united in their decision not to extend the 72-hour truce that ended at 0500 GMT and had been clear about their basic demands to end the conflict.
08/08/2014 9:13 AM EDT
Egypt: Agreement Close In Gaza Talks
Egypt called on Friday for an immediate resumption of the ceasefire in Gaza and a return to the negotiating table, saying that only a few outstanding issues remained in negotiations it was mediating between Israel and the Palestinians.
"The foreign ministry calls on all sides to rise to their responsibilities ... and to return immediately to the ceasefire commitment and exploit the opportunity available to resume negotiations on the very limited sticking points that remain in the fastest possible time," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
08/08/2014 3:58 AM EDT
Israeli Airstrikes On Gaza Resume
BREAKING: Israel says it's resumed strikes on Gaza in response to rocket fire, after end of 3-day truce.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 8, 2014
08/08/2014 3:02 AM EDT
Cease-Fire Ends With New Rocket Attacks
A 72-hour cease-fire expired at 8 a.m. today, and not long after, Gaza militants began firing rockets at Israel, The Associated Press reported.
The Israeli military said at least 10 rockets had been fired at Israel since the truce ended. Prior to the attacks, a senior official for Hamas said the militant groups would not extend the cease-fire.
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08/06/2014 2:46 PM EDT
Official: Israel Agrees To Extend Ceasefire
Israel has conditionally agreed to extend a ceasefire that ended a month of fighting in Gaza beyond a Friday deadline, an Israeli official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official did not say for how much longer Israel had agreed to extend the truce, only that: "Israel has expressed its readiness to extend the truce under its current terms," referring to the deal brokered by Egypt that took effect on Tuesday.
Hamas had no immediate comment.
08/06/2014 2:12 PM EDT
IDF: Rocket Sirens Were False Alarm
IDF confirms rocket sirens in southern Israel were false alarm http://t.co/QN677jtlXE— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) August 6, 2014
08/06/2014 1:18 PM EDT
Report: Rocket Sirens Sound At Gaza Border
ABC Foreign Editor Jon Williams reports that the IDF have confirmed the rocket sirens are sounding, but are checking to see if it is a false alarm.
08/05/2014 4:20 PM EDT
Israel Arrests Kidnapping Suspect
Reuters reports that Israel has arrested one of the suspects in the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June.
Hussam Kawasme, a 40-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested on July 11 in connection with the killing of Israelis Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, who went missing on June 12 and were discovered dead a couple of weeks later.
Their kidnapping sparked a cycle of violence that led to the month-long conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
Kawasme's arrest was made public for the first time on Tuesday in a document from an Israeli court case over whether houses belonging to him and two other suspects - who remain at large - should be destroyed as a punitive measure.
The lawyers listed as representing Kawasme were not reachable for comment.
The court document said Kawasme had admitted to helping to organize the kidnapping - securing funding from the Hamas Islamist group in Gaza and purchasing weapons which he passed on to the two other suspects who carried out the attack.
Kawasme also helped to bury the bodies of the teenagers in a plot of land he had bought a few months earlier, it said.
Israel has named the other two suspects in the case as Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha.