Bodies of Hamas leader's children paraded as group promises 'painful' revenge for their deaths
The bodies of a senior Hamas leader's small children were today ghoulishly paraded through the streets of Gaza as the group pledged to avenge their deaths.
Nizar Rayan, his four wives and 10 of his children were all killed by in an Israeli air strike on his home after he ignored warnings they should go into hiding.
In grisly scenes, mourners held up the bloodied bodies of the children to the cameras in a clear attempt to blacken Israel's name and highlight its brutality.
Graphic images showed the young children's uncovered faces as the victims were carried by thousands of angry Hamas supporters during the funeral procession.
Public grief: Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of Hamas leader Nizar Rayan and the members of his family who died in an Israeli air strike
Rayan, 49, who ranked among Hamas' top five decision makers, was killed yesterday when a one-ton bomb razed his home in the northern town of Jebaliya.
A total of 20 people died in the blast which came on the sixth day of fighting in the Gaza Strip.
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Israel's military says the homes of Hamas leaders are being used to store missiles and other weapons, making them a legitimate target.
Rayan, an influential preacher, had previously denied Israel's existence and was a known mentor of suicide bombers.
He even sent one of his sons on an October 2001 suicide mission that killed two Israeli settlers in Gaza.
Anger: Mourners carry the 14 bodies during the funeral procession
Fears of more Israeli attacks today meant fewer people than normal were at today's communal prayers, but thousands turned out for the funeral of Rayan and his family.
Throngs of people prayed over the rubble of his home and a destroyed mosque nearby before the battered bodies were brought out.
Some were covered in green Hamas flags but the shrouds were pulled back on the smallest children to show their angelic, now motionless, faces.
A sea of people marched with the procession. Some reached out to touch and kiss the bodies as the passed.
Many of the pictures are far too graphic to be shown.
An imam delivered a sermon over a car loudspeaker as they were paraded in the street. Meanwhile, fresh explosions and the drone of warplanes sounded overhead.
Hamas law-maker Mushir Masri branded the assassination yesterday as a 'serious development' in the conflict, which is now in its seventh day.
'The Palestinian resistance will not forget and will not forgive. The resistance's response will be very painful,' he warned.