An Israeli air raid on a Gaza family home has killed a Palestinian man with disabilities, his pregnant wife and their three-year-old daughter, according to relatives and authorities.
Eyad Salha, 33, his wife of the same age Amani, and their daughter Nagham were getting ready to eat lunch on Wednesday when a missile tore through the seaside building’s facade and destroyed all three rooms in their Deir el-Balah flat, in the central Gaza Strip.
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The family’s living room was blasted to bits, and the mangled remains of a child’s red bicycle lay amid the wreckage. Inside their toppled fridge, grey dust covered a bowl of fresh red tomatoes.
Distraught at the morgue, Omar Salha, 31, said his brother Eyad had been unable to walk for 14 years and was not an armed fighter.
“What did my brother do? He was just sitting in his wheelchair,” he told AFP news agency. “What did his daughter ever do? What did his wife do?” asked the younger brother, who was with neighbours when the attack hit.
“They were just getting ready to have lunch.”
Gaza's children are paying the heaviest price amid Israel's deadly bombardment of the besieged enclave ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ZWMcpRx7gh
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 19, 2021
Israeli air raids have killed 227 people, including 64 children, in the besieged coastal enclave since May 10, according to the health ministry in Gaza.
Rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups have killed 12 people, including two children, in Israel in that same period, Israeli police have said.
Omar Salha said his brother was unemployed and shared the flat with his mother and three brothers.
Like many others in the impoverished coastal enclave, they relied on aid from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
Umm Eyad was not at home either when the raid killed her son. She had left two days earlier to stay with her brother, thinking his home would be safer during Israel’s ongoing bombardment.
“He would pray for the situation to calm down,” the 58-year-old said of her late son. “He died while waiting for a newborn.”
Dr. Ashraf Al Qedra, spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health
The Israeli forces killed three members of Salha's family in a bombing in Deir Al-Balah today. The bombing killed Salha's handicapped father, his pregnant wife, and his daughter.#GazaUnderAttack
— Palestinian Ministry of Health- Gaza (@mohenglish3) May 19, 2021
The Gaza health ministry on Wednesday reported the killing of a “disabled man, his daughter and pregnant wife”.
Yousef Abu al-Rish, deputy health minister, expressed outrage, saying killing innocent people in their homes “is a crime”.
“How many more dead must there be for the world to grow a conscience?” he told AFP.
The Israeli army did not provide specific comment on Wednesday’s hit.
Israel’s army has said it seeks to avoid “collateral damage” from strikes that are aimed at military targets. It has also repeatedly said that misfired rockets from Palestinian groups which have landed inside Gaza Strip could be responsible for civilian deaths in the enclave, although there was no immediate indication a Palestinian rocket caused the family’s death.