State Department Responds to Israel’s Bombing of Children Playing on Gaza Beach by Blaming Hamas

Kevin Gosztola

Four Palestinian boys, who were from the same family, were targeted and bombed by Israeli military forces while they were playing football (or soccer) on the beach. The boys were killed nearby the Al Deira hotel, where international journalists have been staying. They appeared to be targeted yet to the United States State Department the children would not have died if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire proposed yesterday.

Ayman Mohyeldin, a journalist for NBC News who has been reporting from Gaza, said he had been kicking around a ball with the boys minutes before the air strike that killed them. He, along with other journalists, including The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont, helped provide medical aid to children who were hit by the strike.

An eyewitness account from Washington Post reporter William Booth indicates the boys were nearby a fisherman’s shack on the “quay at the port, a little after 4 o’clock in the afternoon.” The kids were running from the shack to Al Deira. Waiters, a cook and journalists were shouting at them to run here. A second missile was fired and killed them.

The Gaza Health Ministry announced that their names were: Mohammed Bakr, 9 years-old; Ahed Bakr, 10 years-old; Zakaria Bakr, 10 years-old; and Mohammed Bakr, 11 years-old. They were all “scrawny fishermen’s kids whom we saw every day, running around on the beach, playing in the waves,” according to Booth.

Beaumont wrote in his firsthand account that as the second missile hit the children his colleagues, who were standing on the terrace wall, shouted at “unseen Israeli gunners” who could not hear them: “They are only children.”

A report from Reuters contained an even more shocking detail. Ahmed Abu Hassera, a 22 year-old who witnessed the bombing of children, said. “It looked as if the shells were chasing them.”

The State Department held its daily press briefing at 12:30 pm EST. By that time, the world could read messages from journalists, who witnessed the attack, that Israeli forces had bombed four children.

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