‘I wish they’re birds in heaven’: Families of kids killed on Gaza beach grieve 1 year on

The families of four Palestinian children killed last year on a Gaza beach by Israeli rockets while playing football believe they will never recover from the tragedy, which “stole their happiness.”

A football game between eight boys, all relatives, was terminated by three Israeli missiles on July 16, 2014. Four of the children, Ahed Atef Baker and Zakaria Ahed Baker, both aged 10, Mohamed Ramez Baker, 11, and Ismael Mohamed Baker, 9, lost their lives. International journalists witnessed the tragedy from beachfront hotels and rushed to the scene, from where they broadcast pictures of the slain boys which shook the world.

Journalists later said that when the first shell hit the ground the children ran away, but another shell hit them all, adding that the incident looked as if the shells were chasing them.

The Israeli military closed an investigation into the incident last month, saying the children had been mistaken for Hamas naval forces.

A wounded boy is carried after an Israeli military strike in Gaza City,  July 16, 2014 © Thomas Coex

The parents of some of the killed boys told RT’s Lizzie Phelan there’s not a day they don’t think of their lost loved ones.

“I wish they went to heaven and became birds. All my life has turned to crying, as you see my heart is burning. My kids that are still alive are still suffering, every day they suffer,” mother Im Ataf Baker said.

Father Ahed Baker believes that Israeli troops didn’t only kill four children, they “killed seven families and destroyed everything nice in the family.”

“They stole happiness and a good life. We are simple people, we just need to see our children in front of our eyes like children all over the world, playing and jumping. This is what the Israelis did against our people,” he added emotionally.

READ MORE: ‘Shells were chasing them’: Four Palestinian children killed on beach by Israeli rockets

RT spoke to Palestinian paramedics who have accused Israeli military of specifically targeting ambulance vehicles, as if they wanted medical workers ”to stop giving any service to our [Palestinian] people.”

“We are paramedics, Israel were attacking our ambulances every day, by tanks and airplanes, opening fire, as well as on the press, nobody was safe. My ambulance was hit, my colleagues were killed and my other colleagues were injured,” Hatem Shaheen, a paramedic with the Palestinian Red Crescent, told RT.

“All the ambulances are used to carry injured people, civilians, without weapons. We don’t carry militants or weapons. We are just a medical group dealing with civilians.”

READ MORE: 1 year after Gaza War, Palestinians still live amid ruins, thousands homeless

The 2014 war in Gaza killed more Palestinians than any other year since the Israeli occupation began in 1967. According to UN figures, 2,314 Palestinians were killed in 2014 and 17,125 were wounded.

According to a report released earlier in July by global children's charity Save the Children, around 100,000 people in Gaza are still homeless.

The report added that, according to the latest estimates, some 551 children were killed during Israel’s offensive, while 3,436 were injured and an estimated 1,500 lost their parents.

READ MORE: ‘I feel only pain’: Gaza children suffer emotional trauma one year after war – report