Missile strike by Israel on a crowded market in Gaza left many dead an injured
Missile strike by Israel on a crowded market in Gaza left many dead and injuredGetty

At least 17 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in Gaza after Israel launched a shell onto a fruit and vegetable market.

When the shell hit the market in Shejaiya, eastern Gaza, it was packed with hundreds of people doing their shopping, on Wednesday afternoon.

Reports indicate it was an air strike by the Israel Defence Force which took place during a temporary truce in fighting.

Ambulances rushed to the bloody scene to administer help to badly-injured survivors.

Blood soaked the ground in the aftermath, as the emergency services and civilians mingled with shell-shocked survivors of the attack.

One witness described it as a "massacre."

Salim Qadoum told Associated Press: "The area now is like a bloodbath, everyone is wounded or killed. People lost their limbs and were screaming for help. It's a massacre."

Israel claimed more than 50 rockets had been launched at it from the Gaza Strip by Hamas on the same day as it hit the market.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has been continuing for 23 days, a record length of time for hostiles between the two sides.