JERUSALEM – A Palestinian girl who said she lost a 4-year-old sister yesterday during Israel’s air strikes in the Gaza Strip squarely placed the blame for the violence on Hamas, making her statements live on the terrorist group’s official television network.
“We were sleeping seven girls in the room. We were asleep and didn’t know what was happening. In the morning all the bricks were on top of my head, and the heads of all my sisters. My 4-year-old sister next to me was dead,” the girl said, talking to Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV.
“How many were you?” the Hamas interviewer asked the girl.
The girl responded: “Seven. In the other room were my mother, my father, my younger brother and another sister, who is 13 days old.
“I say, Hamas is the cause, in the first place, of all wars,” she declared.
Israel yesterday hit multiple Hamas targets in Gaza, focusing on the terrorist organization’s military installations, training camps and weapons storage, and production facilities. Also targeted were weapons-smuggling tunnels that snake under Gaza’s border with neighboring Egypt.
Israel confirmed 15 civilians killed between Saturday and yesterday, a number than differs greatly from Hamas casualty counts, which until yesterday put the death toll at 286.
At first, Hamas spokesmen claimed to Western news media that two-thirds of the casualties were civilian, but the group later admitted at least 180 Hamas operatives were killed. Israel says the vast majority of casualties were Hamas operatives.
The Israel Defense Forces has been careful to minimize civilian casualties. It has carried out precision strikes during specific times it believes collateral damage will be limited. The IDF several times sent out Arabic text messages to Gaza residents warning civilians who are in Hamas militant zones to immediately vacate.
Hamas operates from densely populated civilian areas. At least two of the terror group’s main training headquarters in the central Gaza Strip border girls schools. Multiple other Hamas military centers abut mosques, civilian apartment complexes and health clinics, according to Israeli defense sources.