Twin babies among 14 killed in Israeli airstrike on house in Rafah

<span>Rania Abu Anza (C) mourns the deaths of her twin babies before their burial in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Monday.</span><span>Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Rania Abu Anza (C) mourns the deaths of her twin babies before their burial in Rafah, southern Gaza, on Monday.Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Five-month-old twins who were conceived after three rounds of IVF have been killed in an Israeli airstrike on their family home in Rafah, southern Gaza.

Naeim and Wissam Abu Anza were among 14 Palestinians – including six children – killed in the strike at the weekend, according to survivors and health officials. The babies’ father was among the dead. Another nine people are still missing under the rubble.

The twins, a boy and a girl, were born less than a week after the start of the Israel-Gaza war. Their parents had spent 10 years trying to conceive.

Rania Abu Anza had woken up at about 10pm on Saturday to breastfeed her son. She went back to sleep cradling the babies and with her husband beside them. An hour and a half later, the house collapsed in an explosion.

“I screamed for my children and my husband,” she told the Associated Press, sobbing and cradling a baby’s blanket to her chest. “They were all dead. Their father took them and left me behind.”

Dr Marwan al-Hams, the director of the hospital where the bodies from Saturday’s airstrike were taken, said six children and four women were among the 14 people killed. As well as her husband and children, Abu Anza lost a sister, a nephew, a pregnant cousin and other relatives.

Farouq Abu Anza, a family member, said about 35 people were staying at the house, some of whom had been displaced from other areas. He said they were all civilians, mostly children, and that there were no militants among them.

“I lost the people who were dearest to me,” said Rania Abu Anza. “I want to get out of this country. I’m tired of this war.”

Israeli airstrikes have regularly hit crowded homes since the start of the conflict. The strikes often come without warning, usually in the middle of the night.

Israel says it tries to avoid harming civilians and blames their deaths on the Hamas militant group because it positions fighters, tunnels and rocket launchers in dense residential areas.

The military did not comment on this attack but said it “follows international law and takes feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm”.

Israel declared Rafah a safe zone in October but the town is now the next target of its devastating ground offensive.

The war began after Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, rampaging through communities, killing 1,200 people and taking about 250 hostages.

Israel responded with a military campaign in which more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed. More than 40% of them were children, according to the Gaza health ministry.