14 Jul 2014

Gaza live: death and rubble as real and PR battles rage

Channel 4 News Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Miller and team report from the bombardment of Gaza. Follow their tweets, videos and blogs throughout the day here or on Twitter @millerc4 and @c4annalisa.

Please note some of the images in this page are distressing.

From a city rooftop overlooking the Mediterranean beachside-sprawl of Gaza city, you get a grandstand view of the outgoing rockets, fired by Palestinian militants, and of the incoming missiles from Israeli forces, Jonathan Miller writes from Gaza. A dull thud reverberates across the city, followed by the tell-tale pall of smoke.

The precision of the targeting is extraordinary. The home of Dr Nasser al-Tatar, Director of Shifa Hospital – Gaza’s biggest – was destroyed by three missiles just before he joined his family to break the Ramadan fast last night. A warning was phoned through to his nephew; he had 10 minutes to warn neighbours and get his wife and four children out.

He thinks two were fired from drones and one from an F-16 fighter. He watched his home of 30 years blown up in less than a minute. One big missile left a 10-foot-deep crater in what was his front room.

But the houses on either side of his were hardly damaged. A couple of windows were broken — probably from the pressure wave. Israel insists that it takes great care to avoid civilian casualties.

In an effort to prove this, the Israeli military today released footage which it says show three instances in which missile strikes were aborted due to the proximity of civilians to the targets.  The footage is overlaid with radio communications, purporting to be between the aircraft operators and those involved in the surveillance of targets.

This is how the transcript of one of these incidents runs:

PERSON 1: Are you getting this image?
PERSON 2: Yes.
PERSON 1: There are also children on the roof of the building south-west of the target.
PERSON 2: Can you see them playing?
PERSON 1: Are you watching this target?
PERSON 2: There are children playing on the roof as well as people moving in the corridor. There is someone there right now. It seems that the target is not clean.
PERSON 1: We will move to another target because this one is not clean.
PERSON 2: Good.

The trouble is, civilians are being killed. The UN states that 75 percent of casualties are civilians, in fact.

Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian volunteer surgeon at Shifa Hospital in Gaza told Channel 4 News today that among the 1,221 wounded, 600 were women or children — in fact, he clarified, 346 are children. Of the 165 killed by last night, he said, 36 were children and 24 of them were women.

This afternoon we filmed at Shifa Hospital, at the bedside in the antiquated and under-equipped Intensive Care Unit, of a five-year-old boy called Yamin Hamidi.

— Jonathan Miller (@millerC4) July 14, 2014

He was sleeping in his home last Thursday night when it was hit by an Israeli missile. He has what surgeons describe as a closed head injury – a severe brain trauma, causing massive swelling.

Yamin was unconscious, on a ventilator. “We don’t know at this stage whether he will survive,” said Dr Gilbert.

The Israeli Defence Force says it has now struck 1,470 “terror targets” on the Gaza Strip, into which more than 1.7-million people are crammed.  A spokesman says 210 of these were on tunnels, 770 on concealed rocket launchers and 130 on training bases and weapons storage sites.

Israel says its missile attacks on Gaza has been in response to more than 1,000 rockets launched by Hamas and other factions from Gaza over the past week. The IDF says more than 130 of those were fired yesterday, of which 100 hit Israel and 22 were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

Not a single Israeli civilian has been killed.






Tweets by @millerc4