'Cruel scene': Harrowing footage of playing children amid deadly conflict

·6-min read

Harrowing footage has emerged from Gaza as the violent conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate.

Turmoil from the battle between Israel and Hamas spilled over into the West Bank on Friday (local time), sparking the most widespread Palestinian protests in years as hundreds of young demonstrators in multiple regions clashed with Israeli troops, who have shot and killed at least 11 people.

Israel intensified its bombardment of the Gaza Strip with a furious overnight barrage of tank fire and airstrikes that wreaked destruction in some towns, killed a family of six in their house and sent thousands fleeing their homes.

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On Twitter, a "surreal" video, which at the time of writing had been viewed about 1.5 million times, has emerged appearing to show children jumping on a trampoline.

The man who shared the video is based in Jerusalem, according to his Twitter biography, and wrote: "Children in Gaza celebrate Eid despite the bombing."

Eid is a holiday celebrated by Muslims which marks the end of Ramadan.

Explosions brighten the night sky as the kids continue to play. Some children look into the sky at the chaos ensuing not far away.

Others run for cover as the video ends.

“Can’t stop rewatching,” one man tweeted.

Another man called it a "cruel scene", while someone else called the scene "surreal".

Kids play in the streets of Gaza as explosions fill the night sky.
Kids play on a trampoline to mark the end of Ramadan in Gaza. Source: Twitter

"The fact it seems normal to them f***ing sucks," another man tweeted.

The Israeli military said the operation involved 160 warplanes dropping some 72 tonnes of explosives over the course of 40 minutes and succeeded in destroying a network of tunnels used by Hamas to elude airstrikes and surveillance.

Israel appeared determined to inflict as much damage as possible on Hamas before international efforts for a cease-fire accelerated.

Hamas, an Islamic militant group that runs Gaza, launched rocket attacks on Monday to retaliate Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, in East Jerusalem.

Since Monday night, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, which has pounded the Gaza Strip with strikes. 

In Gaza, at least 126 people have been killed, including 31 children and 20 women. Meanwhile in Israel, seven people have been killed, including a six-year-old boy and a soldier.

Rockets are launched from Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, towards Israel early on May 15, 2021.
Rockets are launched from Gaza City towards Israel early on Saturday. Source: Getty Images

Gaza residents speak of destruction

Houda Ouda said she and her extended family ran frantically into their home in the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, seeking safety as the earth shook in the darkness.

“We even did not dare to look from the window to know what is being hit,” she said. 

When daylight came, she saw the destruction: streets cratered, buildings crushed or with facades blown off, an olive tree burned bare, dust covering everything.

The conflict, which was sparked by tensions in Jerusalem during the past month, has reverberated widely.

Israeli cities with mixed Arab and Jewish populations have seen daily violence, with mobs from each community clashing and trashing each other's property. 

New clashes broke out Friday in the coastal city of Acre.

Relatives mourn after three people from the Al-Rentisi family, including two-year-old Ibrahim Al-Rentisi were killed following Israel's attack on Rafah city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip in Gaza City, Gaza.
Relatives mourn after three people from the Al-Rentisi family, including a toddler named Ibrahim were killed following Israel's attack on Rafah city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Source: Getty Images

In the occupied West Bank, on the outskirts of Ramallah, Nablus and other towns and cities, hundreds of Palestinians protested against the Gaza campaign and Israeli actions in Jerusalem. 

Waving Palestinian flags, they trucked in tyres that they set up in burning barricades and hurled stones at Israeli soldiers. 

At least 10 protesters were shot and killed by soldiers. An 11th Palestinian was killed when he tried to stab a soldier at a military position.

In East Jerusalem, online video showed young Jewish nationalists firing pistols as they traded volleys of stone with Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, which became a flashpoint for tensions over attempts by settlers to forcibly evict a number of Palestinian families from their homes.

Smoke rises after airstrikes over Ansar Government Complex building, carried out by Israeli army, on the second day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Gaza City, Gaza.
Airstrikes from the Israela army hit the Ansar Government Complex building on the second day of Ramadan. Source: Getty Images

On Israel’s northern border, troops opened fire when a group of Lebanese and Palestinian protesters on the other side cut through the border fence and briefly crossed. One Lebanese was killed. 

Three rockets were fired toward Israel from neighbouring Syria, but they either landed in Syrian territory or in empty areas, Israeli media said. It was not immediately known who fired them.

The spiralling violence has raised fears of a new Palestinian “intifada”, or uprising, at a time when the peace process has been virtually nonexistent for years. 

The tensions began in East Jerusalem earlier this month, with Palestinian protests against the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and Israeli police measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a frequent flashpoint located on a mount in the Old City revered by Muslims and Jews.

Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem late on Monday, in an apparent attempt to present itself as the champion of the protesters. 

In the conflict that spiralled from there, Israel says it wants to inflict as much damage as it can on Hamas’s military infrastructure in Gaza.

Relatives mourn after three people from the Al-Rentisi family, including two-year-old Ibrahim Al-Rentisi were killed following Israel's attack on Rafah city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, in Gaza City, Gaza.
More relatives deaths in the Al-Rentisi family. Source: Getty Images
A young girl with 'Palestine' in Arabic letters written on her face is seen as Jordanians march in the downtown centre protesting in solidarity with Gazans during the current conflict with Israel, in Amman, Jordan.
A young Jordanian girl shows support for Palestinians with 'Palestine' printed on her face in Arabic in Amman, Jordan. Source: Getty Images

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Hamas would “pay a very heavy price” for its rocket attacks.

Israel called up 9000 reservists on Thursday to join its troops massed at the Gaza border.

An Egyptian intelligence official said Israel had turned down an Egyptian proposal for a one-year ceasefire that Hamas had accepted. 

The official, who was close to Egypt’s talks with both sides, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal negotiations.

On Friday, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel-Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, arrived in Israel as part of an attempt by Washington to deescalate the conflict.

with The Associated Press and Reuters

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