GAZA STRIP - As Israel Defense Forces continue to pound the Gaza Strip by air, sea and a new ground offensive, protesters were seen around the world on Saturday saying “enough is enough” asking for the siege of Gaza by Israel to end.
Gaza officials say the death toll has climbed to 342 Palestinians, including 70 children with the United Nations reporting at least 2,000 injuries and that 80 percent of the fatalities have been civilians with more than 60,000 people being displaced over the escalating conflict that began 12 days ago.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign led by director, Sarah Colborne brought up to 100,000 demonstrators in London who marched peacefully outside 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet and Prime Minister’s residence with some holding placards saying “Stop the massacre” and “Free Palestine.”
The sad stories of grieving families are being reported by news correspondents who have been flown into Gaza to report about the escalating conflict. The Huffington Post reported one such story. Waiting for three of his children to be prepared for burial, Ismail Abu Musallam was seen sobbing and shaking at a hospital on Friday. He said the children were killed in their sleep when an Israeli tank shell hit their home killing Ahmed, 11-years-old, Walaa, 14-years-old and Mohammed, 16-years-old.
Unfortunately his personal tragedy is not uncommon. The United Nations is saying 1 in 5 children are being killed in the densely populated Gaza Strip of 1.7 million people where half are under age 18.
"If you are going to attack civilian structures in densely populated areas, of course you are going to see children killed," New York-based Human Rights Watch researcher Bill Van Esveld said.
Israel Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said on Friday the military has been delivering evacuation warnings by dropping leaflets from planes, text messages and automated calls. "Israel's efforts to try to minimize civilian casualties are unprecedented in the Western world,” Lerner said. “Unfortunately, the Hamas infrastructure placed itself intentionally between the civilian populations.”
The hardest hit area hit by Israel Defense Forces has been Northern Gaza where the military says they have tried to evacuate the residents there before launching intense rocket, sea and ground attacks.
Gaza medical officials said the attacks from Israel on Saturday killed 33 people who were again mostly civilians.
“I live in fear expecting death. I no longer know what’s more difficult - to die or to await death,” said Ali Mahmoud who lives in northern Gaza.