In a recent series of events, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a tragic escalation of violence that has resulted in significant casualties, extensive infrastructure damage, and a dire humanitarian crisis. This turmoil unfolded as part of Operation Iron Swords, initiated by Israel in response to Operation Flood Al-Aqsa, carried out by Hamas in reaction to Israeli attacks against Palestinians and Islamic holy sites, notably the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip have been marked by a distressing impact on civilian life. Civilian homes, residential towers, health centers, and universities have been targeted, leading to the destruction of entire residential neighborhoods. This has forced thousands of citizens to seek refuge in shelters and United Nations Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees-run schools.
Salama Maarouf, head of the Palestinian government’s media office, reported that Israel’s aggression included nearly 30 massacres against Palestinian families and the destruction of 552 residential buildings. Additionally, 42 government headquarters were razed during the aggression against the Gaza Strip.
Maarouf also revealed that 752 residential buildings were demolished, which amounted to 2,835 apartment units. Moreover, 32,000 units sustained severe damage, along with various public facilities.
Ramadan Maatouq, a homeowner in one of the targeted areas, described the horrors faced by residents who were suddenly exposed to Israeli airstrikes, with many suffering injuries. Maatouq emphasized that there were no resistance fighters in the vicinity, predominantly children and women. He condemned Israel for its attacks on civilians, underscoring the resilience of the Palestinian resistance.
Mosques and Schools Under Fire
Israeli air forces also targeted mosques, with the destruction of 12 mosques reported since the outset of the aggression. Hossam Abu Al-Rub, the Undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs, provided this update.
Salah Al-Hourani, a resident near one of the targeted mosques, described the panic and chaos that ensued when the mosque was hit without warning. He urged the Israeli occupation to at least issue warnings to neighboring houses to allow the evacuation of children.
Reports also highlighted the destruction of 89 schools, with nine rendered inoperable, and the tragic loss of 17 educational personnel. In the health sector, the situation is dire, as Ashraf Al-Qudra, the official spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, pointed out. The healthcare system is on the brink of collapse, with no available space for wounded individuals in intensive care rooms, due to hospitals being overwhelmed.
Al-Qudra emphasized that the Israeli blockade, which includes cutting off electricity and fuel, poses a severe threat to the lives of the wounded and sick, leading to a looming health and environmental catastrophe. He urged the international community to urgently facilitate the delivery of medical supplies and evacuate the wounded and sick before it is too late.
Thousands Killed, Wounded and Displaced
The latest statistics from the Palestinian Ministry of Health paint a grim picture, with 3,785 Palestinians killed and 12,493 injured, including many with serious injuries. Amid this turmoil, hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza City have attempted to flee south following evacuation orders issued by Israel. However, many have chosen to remain, as they perceive no viable alternative.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has announced the displacement of more than 420,000 people as a result of Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip. The situation has reached unprecedented levels, with dozens of bodies of martyrs piling up outside Al-Shifa Hospital due to the morgue’s capacity constraints, forcing families and medical teams to make makeshift arrangements for the deceased.