Father in Gaza mourns son, 13, killed in Israeli airstrike as fighting intensifies

Father in Gaza mourns son, 13, killed in Israeli airstrike as fighting intensifies

WARNING: The story contains an image of a dead child.

At the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Nael Al-Baghdadi carried his son Omar in his arms through the halls, his voice hoarse from his cries. 

Al-Baghdadi crouched to pray on the floor of the hospital room, his shirt soaked in his son's blood. He embraced the lifeless body, and kissed his boy on the forehead between moments of anguish.

"They were little kids who were playing.... They didn't do anything," he told CBC freelance videographer Mohamed El Saife on Tuesday. "They were just playing." 

"We've been dying for 10 months," Al-Baghdadi screamed from the hospital. "It's enough." 

A man in a blue shirt holds a child in a red shirt in a hospital
Nael Al-Baghdadi holds the body of his child killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, at a hospital morgue in Deir al-Balah on Tuesday. (Abdel Kareem Hana/The Associated Press)

Al-Baghdadi said his son was killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit the Abu Rassas roundabout in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. 

A series of deadly strikes over the past two days has killed dozens in the territory. More than 40 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday, in Gaza City in the north, Bureij, Deir al-Balah and Nuseirat in central Gaza and in Rafah in the south, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.

WATCH | Al-Baghdadi mourns the loss of his son: 

'They were just playing': Palestinian father mourns loss of son after strike in central Gaza

3 hours ago

Duration 0:19

Eyewitnesses say the attack in Bureij Camp in central Gaza left four children dead out of seven casualties as fighting intensifies between the Israel Defence Forces and Hamas.

​​Israel says it is pursuing Hamas fighters that are regrouping in various parts of Gaza, nine months into the war. But the recent heavy strikes across the territory could also be aimed at further pressuring the militant group in ceasefire talks.

In a visit Wednesday to central Gaza, Israel's military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, said forces were operating in different ways, in multiple parts of the territory, "to carry out a very important mission: pressure. We will continue operating to bring home the hostages."

On Monday, Hamas posted on Telegram saying the latest attacks would lead to "disastrous repercussions." The post said Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas's political bureau, warned the attacks would bring negotiations to "point zero," with Israel bearing "full responsibility."

Talks between Hamas and Israel have been underway for some time, with representatives meeting with mediators from Egypt and Qatar to discuss the possibility of a ceasefire. 

A bearded man lifts a young boy who has an anguished look and blood on his face, in an urban setting with other people shown in the distance.
A man carries an injured child following Israeli bombardment at the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on June 16, amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. (Eyad Baba/AFP/Getty Images)

​​The Palestine Red Crescent Society said all of its medical clinics were out of service in Gaza City, after Israel urged all Palestinians to leave the city on Wednesday, driving thousands of people westward and to the south. 

Nine months of war and displacement have caused a hunger crisis throughout the Gaza Strip. The recent deaths of several more children from malnutrition indicate that famine has spread throughout the coastal enclave, a group of independent human rights experts mandated by the United Nations said.

Israel launched its invasion of Gaza after a Hamas-led attack on Oct. 7, which saw some 1,200 killed and 250 hostages taken, by Israeli figures. By the Palestinian count, Israel's subsequent ground offensive has killed more than 38,000 in the territory. 

On Tuesday, hospital staff wrapped Omar's injuries in bandages before placing him in a white shroud in front of family members, who would lead a funeral prayer for him.

Staff laid bodies outside the hospital and lined up for prayer behind the local sheikh, the tiny shrouds revealing the children who are the latest victims of the war. 

"No one can help us," said Al-Baghdadi, in a final cry of misery.