File - A medic stands among bodies of war victims stored in a food refrigerator as the morgue has run out of space in Rafah.
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The first of August dawned as a day of promise for the Mahmoum clan and thousands of other Palestinians stuck in U.N. shelters in Rafah – thanks to a cease-fire they could go home for three days.After just two hours, amid fear that Hamas had captured an Israeli soldier, the Israeli military sealed off the Rafah area and began shelling. By the end of the next day, 190 Palestinians were dead, according to a list of names compiled by two Gaza human rights groups, including 14 members of the Mahmoum family.A Palestinian rights group argues that the Israeli army violated the rules of war, which include giving adequate warning to civilians, using proportionate force and distinguishing between civilians and combatants.The Israeli military confirmed that Rafah residents were barred from leaving the area Aug. 1, but declined to comment on the war crime allegations.More than 2,140 Palestinians were killed, three-fourths civilians, according to the U.N. On the Israeli side, 72 people were killed, all but seven soldiers.Even if the findings of U.N. investigators are months away, Mustafa Mahmoum is determined to demand justice for his family and trial for Israeli officials who ordered the Rafah attack. Trying to rescue a soldier does not justify killing civilians, he said.
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