World Bulletin / News Desk
The name of Shujaya residential neighborhood in the eastern Gaza Strip fronted Arab and international headlines on Sunday, after the killing of 72 Palestinian residents from the neighborhood in an indiscriminate shelling by Israeli forces.
Shujaya is the Gaza Strip’s oldest and largest neighborhood, home to around 100,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian historian Selim al-Mabyad.
“It was named after Shuja’ al-Kurdi, who was killed during a battle between Saladin al-Ayubi’s forces and the Crusaders in 1239 AD,” al-Mabyad told Anadolu Agency.
“The district is a strategic area and a key access point to Gaza City, which makes it a prime target for Israeli ground assaults,” he added.
On Sunday, dozens of Israeli tanks and military vehicles forced their way into the eastern parts of Gaza City amid heavy artillery fire. The assault left at least 72 Palestinians dead in Shujaya alone, making this the bloodiest day since Israel unleashed its onslaught on the besieged coastal enclave two weeks ago.
Israel’s incursion was coupled with heavy fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian resistance fighters, according to eyewitness accounts.
Shujaya, whose residents largely come from Turkmen and Kurdish descent, was targeted during Israel’s two previous offensives on the embattled Gaza Strip within the past six years, in 2008/9 and 2012 respectively.
“Shujaya is a symbol of Palestinian resistance,” al-Mabyad said. “It is where armed resistance groups were first organized.”
The distric has been the primary hub for the whole spectrum of Palestinian factions, from the Palestine Liberation Organization – now based in Ramallah – to the Islamist Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as it remains the main stronghold of the latter two.
Many leaders of the Hamas movements are based in the area, including Ahmed al-Jaabari, the late deputy chief of Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigades, who was repeatedly targeted by Israeli forces before he was eventually killed in an attack by Israeli warplanes on his car during the November 2012 offensive.
Another Shujaya resident whose name is associated with the Palestinian resistance across Gaza is Mariam Farahat, who became known as the “mothers of martyrs” after she lost her three sons in different incidents, one of which was when her son Mohamed carried out a attack that left nine Israeli soldiers dead in March 2002.
Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra said earlier that at least 72 Palestinians, including many children and women, were killed in the Israeli shelling of Shujaya, as well as 400 Palestinians who have been wounded.
The latest fatalities bring to 476 the number of Palestinians killed in unrelenting Israeli air and naval bombardment of the blockaded Gaza Strip since July 7, which expanded to include ground incursions on Thursday night.Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2014, 17:37