Israeli airstrikes destroys 50% of housing units in Gaza, death toll exceeds 7,000

Ahram Online , AFP , AP , Thursday 26 Oct 2023

Israeli troops and tanks launched an hours-long ground raid into northern Gaza overnight into Thursday, with airstrikes continuing to devastate the Strip, killing dozens of Palestinians and leaving neighbourhoods in rubble.

Palestinians
Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. AP

 

The government office in Gaza announced that the death toll of the Palestinians has exceeded 7,000, besides tens of thousands of injured and missing individuals.

It also indicated that the Israeli bombing destroyed half of the housing units in Gaza. 

Palestinian Health Ministry said Israeli raids targeted 57 health institutions and 12 hospitals already out of service.

During the past hours, 17 people were killed and about 100 injured in a bombing targeting houses near Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.

The Director of Nasser Hospital said the hospital has received 77 dead, all women and children, since midnight.

Medical tents were set up outside Nasser Hospital after it was crowded with injured people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

In addition, six people were killed in a bombing of a house in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, east of Gaza.

The Israeli army said it had carried out around 250 airstrikes across Gaza in the last 24 hours, claiming it targeted tunnel shafts, rocket launchers, and other militant infrastructure.

The head of the government office in Gaza told Al-Jazeera that there are indications that Israel is using internationally banned ammunition.

He said that Israel is using ammunition that melts the limbs of the wounded and causes massive destruction to the infrastructure.

The United Nations issued a stark warning Thursday that "nowhere is safe" in Gaza amid stepped-up Israeli air raids in preparation for a widely expected ground offensive.

"People are left with nothing but impossible choices. Nowhere is safe in Gaza," Lynne Hastings, UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said in a statement.

Recently, more than 60 trucks with aid entered  Gaza from Egypt, which aid workers say is insufficient and constitutes only a tiny fraction of what was brought in before the war. Israel is still barring fuel deliveries — needed to power generators — saying it believes Hamas will take it.

An official with the International Committee of the Red Cross said it hopes to bring eight trucks filled with vital medical supplies.

“This is a small amount of what is required, a drop in the ocean,” said William Schomburg, head of the sub-delegation in Gaza. “We are trying to establish a pipeline.”

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has been sharing its own fuel supplies so that trucks can distribute aid, bakeries can feed people in shelters, water can be desalinated, and hospitals can keep incubators, life support machines, and other vital equipment working. If it continues doing all this, fuel will run out by Thursday, so the agency is taking measures to ration its supply, UNRWA spokeswoman Tamara Alrifai told The Associated Press.

“Do we give it to the incubators or the bakeries?” she said. “It is an excruciating decision.”

More than half of Gaza’s primary healthcare facilities and roughly a third of its hospitals have stopped functioning, the World Health Organization said.

At Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital, the lack of medicine and clean water has led to “alarming” infection rates, the group Doctors Without Borders said. Amputations are often required to prevent infection from spreading in the wounded, it said.

One surgeon with the group described amputating half the foot of a 9-year-old boy with only “slight sedation” on a hallway floor as his mother and sister watched.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, a 17-year-old boy, Asid Hamdi Hamidat, was killed by Israeli gunfire in the Jalazone camp north of Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

His death raises the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the West Bank since the beginning of this year to 313, including 105 since 7 October, when the war broke out in Gaza. 

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