• Toddlers burn to death in Gaza blaze blamed on power cuts | Middle East Eye | Mohammed Omer |
    Saturday 7 May 2016

    AL-SHATI REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza - The toddlers’ bed stands in the middle of the ash-scorched and smoke-stained room. Next to it lie the bodies of Yousra , aged three, Rahaf , aged two, and Naser al-Hindi , six months old, who all burnt to death here.

    The three bodies are distorted and unrecognisable. A few scorched toys are scattered around them while their heartbroken father, Mohammed al-Hindi, looks on in shock, hardly able to accept they are really his children.

    Walking through the once colourful small apartment in al-Shati, one of the poorest refugee camps in Gaza, it is almost impossible to tell which room was once the kitchen, the bedroom and the toilet because everything has melted into one.

    When the building caught fire late on Friday night, no one living nearby was able to break in, with neighbours eventually smashing a hole through the wall in a failed attempt to rescue the children.

    The deaths of the children has enraged local residents who believe that the fire is a cruel consequence of the impact of the decade-long blockade by Israel and Egypt and a local power struggle between Hamas and Fatah which has made living conditions increasingly intolerable.

    The incident has also reminded Gazans of the case of a family in the eastern city of Shejayeh who were burnt to death in a fire caused by a candle three years ago.

    Mahmood Dhier, 32, his wife Samar, and their four children, Mahmoud, six, Nabil, five, Farah, four, and Qamar, four months, all died in the blaze.


    • Hamas: Israel and its ’accomplices’ responsible for death of 3 siblings in Gaza fire
      May 7, 2016 5:28 P.M. (Updated: May 8, 2016 2:09 P.M.)

      GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A senior Hamas official blamed Israel and its “accomplices” — an implicit jab at the Palestinian Authority — for the house fire that killed three siblings and left three others seriously burned on Friday night in al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

      On Saturday during the funeral for the three children, Ismail Haniyeh said: “The enemy’s warplanes have been burning lands and houses, while Israel’s crippling siege imposed on Gaza and its accomplices are now burning our children.”

      The house fire was caused by candles that the family used during a power cut, Gaza’s civil defense services told Ma’an Friday. Local medical sources identified the victims as three-year-old Yusra Muhammad Abu Hindi , two-year-old Rahaf Muhammad Abu Hindi , and two-month-old Nasser Muhammad Abu Hindi .

      “Should Gaza — whose people live under a crippling blockade — be blamed?” he asked, likely implying that Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s de facto ruling party, could not be held responsible for the besieged coastal enclave’s energy crisis.

      “Who has been taking $70 million dollars a month in taxes from Gaza? Who has been collecting fuel taxes? Who refused to enlarge the power supply from Egypt to the Gaza Strip and refused to build a pipeline to provide Gaza’s power station with gas to increase its capacity?” Haniyeh continued, listing a set of policy decisions imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA).