A Palestinian family of six members, save a months old baby, was massacred late on Friday night by Israeli warplanes that hit their home in Al Shati refugee camp in East Gaza City.

Israeli F16 fighter jets bombed with a heavy barrage of missiles the three-storey home of the Abu Hatab family killing at least four children and their mother.

The baby, whose mother and older siblings were all killed, miraculously survived and was plucked from the wreckage.

The male infant was believed to have since undergone surgery for his injuries.

The bombing of the Abu Hatab house also injured 25 other Palestinian civilians in neighbouring homes.

Civil defence teams were searching under the debris of the destroyed Abu Hatab home for any further casualties.

A list of those killed in the attack included Yemen Alaa Abu Hatab, 5, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Hadidi, 8, Bilal Alaa Abu Hatab, 10, Youssef Alaa Abu Hatab, 11 and Yasmine Hassan, 31.

Miracle in the wreckage: the months old baby was found in the wreckage of the Abu Hatab house after Israeli bombing killed at least five other family members.
Miracle in the wreckage: the months old baby was found in the wreckage of the Abu Hatab house after Israeli bombing killed at least five other family members.

The death toll from the Israel-Palestine conflict is continuing to rise at an alarming rate, with the Israeli military accused of "full-fledged war crime".

Palestinian fatalities from air strikes on Gaza have now reached 137, including 31 children, with more than 950 people injured.

There are fears this number will reach new heights after another series of air strikes from Israel hit the Shati refugee camp in Gaza.

At least two women and six children were killed in the strike, with several others buried under the rubble.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem released a statement early on Saturday, accusing the Israeli military of a "massacre".

"The massacre committed by the occupation against civilians in the Al-Shati refugee camp is a full-fledged war crime and reflects the ugliness of the terror practised by the Zionist entity against our people," Qassem said.


Despite intensifying diplomatic efforts to ease five days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, Israel's air force struck several sites in the strip overnight, while rockets again tore towards the Jewish state.

Its bombardment of Gaza began Monday in response to rocket fire towards Jerusalem from Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in the enclave.

More than 2,000 rockets have been fired at the Jewish state since Monday, killing nine people, including a child and a soldier, with more than 560 people injured.

Israel's response has seen it hit nearly 800 targets, including a massive assault Friday on a Hamas tunnel network dug under civilian areas.

Towers and homes were levelled, forcing Gaza families to seek shelter in schools and mosques, ahead of another possible bombardment.

"All the children are afraid and we are afraid for the children," said Kamal al-Haddad, who fled with his family to a UN-supported school in Gaza City.

Early Saturday, the Israeli army said it had hit a Hamas "operation office" near the centre of Gaza City, with additional overnight strikes targeting what the military called "underground launch sites".


'Misleading' tweet lured fighters to their deaths

The Israeli military has been accused of deliberately "manipulating" Palestinian troops and luring them to their deaths through a single Twitter post.

After days of violence between Israeli and Palestine, the situation dramatically escalated on Friday after Israel announced its air and ground troops had launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Early on Friday morning Australian time, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) posted a short but chilling tweet, declaring that: "IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip."

The wording of the announcement caused widespread confusion and speculation over whether Israel has launched a ground invasion, a scenario that many fear would turn the fighting into an "all-out war".

Hours later, the military clarified that no troops had physically entered Gaza and were instead positioned along the border.

By this time, Hamas and Islamic Jihad troops had heard of the apparent imminent threat and rushed into the network of strategic tunnels understood to store weapons and missiles used to defend Gaza.

So, instead of launching a ground invasion, Israeli troops launched hundreds of missiles onto the tunnel network.

The number of Hamas fighters killed in the attack is not clear, however, the militant group confirmed at least 20 of its fighters have died since Monday.

While the army attempted to play down the misleading tweet as a misunderstanding, many commentators claimed it was a deliberate "manipulation" to lure Hamas fighters to their deaths.

"They didn't lie," said Or Heller, a veteran military correspondent on Israel's Channel 13 TV, said.

"It was a manipulation. It was smart and it was successful."

Worst fighting since 2014

The fighting in blockaded Gaza, the worst since a 2014 war, exploded following hostilities in east Jerusalem, the Israeli-annexed part of the city Palestinians claim as their capital.

Fresh overnight tensions hit the east Jerusalem area of Shuafat, where young, masked Palestinian protesters set debris on fire as Israeli police responded with tear gas.

The West Bank saw fierce fighting on Friday, with the Palestinian health ministry saying 11 people were killed by Israeli fire.

A Palestinian security source said the fighting was the "most intense" since the second intifada, or uprising, that began in 2000.



Violence on Fridays in the West Bank is a traditional facet of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the latest clashes are closely linked to the events in Jerusalem and Gaza.

Despite international calls for an end to the violence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a "heavy price" to come.

"I said that we would charge a very heavy price from Hamas and the rest of the terrorist organisations," he said.

"We are doing this and we will continue to do so with great force. The last word was not said and this operation will continue as long as it takes to restore peace and security to the State of Israel."

The Israeli military previously said it would not rule out an invasion.

- With AFP

Originally published as Baby only survivor after family massacred

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