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Mike Hanna: 'Utter devastation' in Gaza City

Mike Hanna
CNN correspondent Mike Hanna  

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- An Israeli airstrike on a densely populated area of Gaza City has left at least 15 people dead, among them several children -- at least one was a baby. (Full story)

CNN correspondent Mike Hanna reports from the scene of the missile attack.

Hanna: Here in the heart of Gaza City is a scene of utter devastation -- the aftermath of an Israeli F-16 missile strike. One of the first people to arrive at the scene described it as being like a "horror movie."

There is a great anger among Palestinians at the Israelis, a great anger at the attack.

Eleven people have been confirmed dead and well over 100 people wounded. Among the dead are a number of children as well as two elderly men.

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City kills at least 11 people. CNN's Matthew Chance reports (July 22)

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The target of the attack, says Israel, was a senior figure in Hamas military wing, Salah Shehade. According to Hamas sources, his wife and three children were killed in the attack as well.

Hospital sources say they have not received the bodies yet, but it has been confirmed they are dead.

A statement from the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, describes this operation as "a success" saying, "it is well known he regrets the killing of civilians."

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But here among the Palestinians the feeling is any such action is completely unjustifiable, targeting a missile strike in a very densely populated civilian area, as is the case here in Gaza City.

Israel has been quick to supply a great deal of information about Shehade, alleging he was a prime mover in terror attacks against Israeli civilians and listing a lot of attacks with which they say he was connected.

However, this is a strike that, regardless of these allegations against Shehade himself, was in a densely populated area and the civilian deaths were something that, as we heard from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, have brought very strong condemnation of this operation. (More reaction)

Among Palestinians we are speaking to here, nothing but the most absolute anger that this operation should have gone ahead.

The people living in that area say there was no warning whatsoever, the first knowledge they had of the attack was when the missile actually exploded in the apartment block -- there were no flypasts of helicopters beforehand.

There was no way in which the people in those buildings were able to get out before the attack happened and the injury toll is very high.

And we are told by the hospital there are over 16 people critically injured, so although we are told by the Israeli prime minister that he considers this a success -- Israel has described it as a "pinpoint strike" against a man they believe was carrying out terror attacks against Israeli civilians -- from the Palestinian side this is a completely unacceptable and unjustified attack in an area where there were hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians.




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