Israeli Airstrikes in Gaza Leave Hundreds Dead, Including Women and Children
700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza in the past day as a result of Israeli airstrikes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry run by Hamas. The Israeli government has reported launching 400 airstrikes, targeting Hamas commanders and militants who were preparing to launch rockets into Israel, as well as command centers and a Hamas tunnel shaft.
Heart-wrenching scenes of rescuers pulling bodies out of the rubble from collapsed buildings in central and south Gaza have emerged. Witnesses have reported that buildings are collapsing and killing dozens at a time. Among the strikes mentioned are those on a four-story building in Khan Younis, a marketplace in the Nuseirat refugee camp, and the house of the Bahloul family in Gaza City.
The Hamas-run health ministry claims that the war has claimed the lives of over 5,700 Palestinians, including 2,300 minors. This figure also includes the disputed toll from an explosion at a hospital. The fighting has also led to the deaths of more than 1,400 people in Israel, mostly civilians during the initial Hamas attack.
With the rising death toll, Gaza’s health-care facilities are struggling to meet the needs of the injured. Many primary health-care facilities and hospitals are no longer functioning, and Gaza’s main hospitals are overwhelmed and beyond capacity. Palestinians are facing difficulties in burying their dead due to the sheer number of casualties.
Israel has consistently stated that it does not target civilians and accuses Hamas militants of using them as cover for their attacks. The Israeli military cites the firing of over 7,000 rockets at Israel by Palestinian militants as evidence of this tactic. To ensure the safety of Palestinians, the Israeli military spokesman has urged them to head south.
Amidst the violence, there have been some glimmers of hope. Two elderly Israeli women who were captured by Hamas have been released, along with an American woman and her daughter. In an effort to gather information on their whereabouts, the Israeli military has dropped leaflets in Gaza.
Israel has made it clear that it intends to destroy Hamas, while Iranian-backed fighters in the region warn of a possible escalation. The United States has issued a warning to Iranian-backed Hezbollah and other groups not to join the fight. Along the Israel-Lebanon border, there have been exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, and Israeli warplanes have also targeted sites in Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied West Bank in recent days.
As the conflict rages on, the international community watches with concern for the escalating death toll and the dire situation faced by those in Gaza.
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