Israel’s ambassador to the UN on Tuesday led a group of foreign envoys through rocket-damaged areas of the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, which was pummeled by repeated rocket fire from Gaza over the weekend.
The ambassadors, who serve alongside Danny Danon at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, visited the home of Moshe Agadi, a 58-year-old father of four killed by a rocket that slammed into his home, as well as a school in the city that was damaged.
“We came to Ashkelon in order to strengthen the residents of the south and show the world from up close the aggression of Hamas,” Danon said.
Ashkelon was among the hardest-hit cities during the two-day flareup of violence starting Saturday. Aside from Agadi, Ziad al-Hamamda, 47, from the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom was also killed when a rocket hit a factory where he was working in the city.
Two other Israelis were also killed on Sunday, Israeli-American Pinchas Menachem Prezuazman, 21 who was killed by a rocket in Ashdod and Moshe Feder, 68, killed when an anti-tank missile hit his car on a highway near the Gaza border.
“The time has come for the Security Council to designate Hamas a terror group like al-Qaeda and Daesh,” Danon told reporters as the group viewed a house damaged by shrapnel, saying he would bring the demand to the Security Council.
“Hamas commits double war crimes — it hides behind civilians in Gaza, it attacks civilians here in Israel.” Danon said.
At least a dozen ambassadors joined the trip, including Ivory Coast’s Kacou Houadja Léon Adom, who currently has a seat on the Security Council.
Andrejs Pildegovics, Latvia’s ambassador to the UN, said the envoys were in Ashkelon “to learn about the damage that terror leaves.”
“We’re all very worried about the results of the escalation [in violence] between Israel and Gaza and are hoping that people will come to the region,” Pildegovics said in a Hebrew-language statement from Israel’s mission to the UN.
Standing in the rubble-strewn yard of a house damaged by a Hamas rocket, Danon described to the ambassadors how the family was saved by managing to get to their reinforced safe room just before the rocket exploded.
“Had they stayed in the bedroom or living room it would have killed them immediately,” Danon said.