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Israeli airstrike kills four children on Gaza beach

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An Israeli airstrike on Wednesday killed four children — all members of the same family — and wounded several others on a Gaza beach in front of a hotel packed with foreign journalists. The first shell hit around 4 p.m. local time, while a second strike hit survivors as they ran up the beach toward the safety of the hotel.

The Guardian's Peter Beaumont, who watched the strikes hit from the hotel terrace, called it a "personal low point" to have administered first aid, along with other journalists, to wounded children. He offered this deeply distressing account of the attack:

Pulling up the T-shirt of the first boy, who looks about eight years old, we find a shrapnel hole, small and round as a pencil head, where he has been hit in the chest over the second rib. Another boy, a brother or cousin, who is uninjured, slumps by the wall of the terrace, weeping by his side.

The boy cries in pain as we clean and dress the wound, wrapping a field dressing around his chest, pressing to staunch the bleeding. He winces in pain, and he is clearly embarrassed too as a colleague checks his shorts to look for unseen femoral bleeding. [The Guardian]

Nearly 200 Palestinians have died in the conflict so far, an estimated 80 percent of whom were civilians, according to the United Nations; Israel has suffered one casualty.