Harrowing footage has emerged on YouTube (full video below) showing the moment Israeli artillery shells smash into a market on the outskirts of the Shujayea district in Gaza on Wednesday. The savagery was caught on camera by an independent Palestinian television company, with AP reporting that 17 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in the blast. Palestinian photojournalist Rami Rayan was among those who died in the air strike.
In the film, bodies can be seen strewn across the ground. AP reported that one man cried, "Where is the ambulance?" as he sat in his own blood. The market attack happened on the same day as Israeli artillery hit a UN-run school in Jebaliya, occupied by sleeping refugees. Immediately after the destruction of the school, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the shelling "outrageous", and reasserted his demand for an immediate cease-fire. Washington was also critical, with a White House spokesperson saying they were "extremely concerned".
In total, 166 Palestinians and three Israeli solders were killed on Wednesday, marking one of the bloodiest days of the conflict. The past week has seen the IDF step up its military campaign against Hamas militants in the Strip, who have fired thousands of rockets into the Israeli heartland during the course of the current hostilities.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called up 16,000 more reservists, promising to continue the offensive to destroy the cross-border, Hamas-built tunnels regardless of any future cease-fire. "We have neutralised dozens of terror tunnels and we are committed to complete this mission, with or without a cease-fire," he said, adding, "I will not agree to any offer that does not allow the military to complete this important mission for the security of the people of Israel."
Reported by AP, the reservists will relieve current front line troops, but could also be use to expand operations. According to Palestinian officials, the death toll has now topped 1,360 since fighting began on the 8 July, many of the fatalities civilians. 58 Israelis have also been killed.