Israeli Airstrikes Intensify in Gaza Amidst Humanitarian Crisis

As Israeli military operations intensify in Gaza, the conflict's humanitarian toll, including civilian casualties and destroyed infrastructure, continues to mount.

Published June 24, 2024 - 18:06pm

4 minutes read
Israel
Palestinian Territory, Occupied
Palestine
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The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated further, with recent Israeli airstrikes in Gaza resulting in significant casualties and destruction. According to Gaza's health ministry, an Israeli airstrike on a medical clinic in Gaza City killed Hani al-Jaafarawi, the director of Gaza's Ambulance and Emergency Department. This adds to the growing list of medical staff casualties, with over 500 killed since October 7 and many more detained.

Israeli military officials stated that the strike aimed to neutralize Mohammad Salah, a senior Hamas armed commander allegedly involved in developing strategic weaponry for Hamas. The conflict, now in its eighth month, has yet to see a ceasefire agreement despite international mediation efforts led by the United States. Israel insists on temporary pauses in fighting until Hamas is completely eradicated, while Hamas demands a complete end to the war.

The violence has also spread to other areas in Gaza. In Rafah, Israeli forces have advanced deeper into the city, encountering heavy resistance. Residents reported that Israeli tanks had reached the edge of the Mawasi displaced persons' camp in northwest Rafah, forcing many families to flee to Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah, the only city in Gaza not yet invaded by tanks.

Further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, an Israeli airstrike targeted a training college near Gaza City, killing eight Palestinians. Witnesses said the college, run by the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, was being used to distribute aid to displaced families. The strike resulted in a low-rise building's complete demolition, with bodies wrapped in blankets awaiting removal. The Israeli military claimed the site was being used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants and that precautionary measures were taken to minimize civilian harm.

UNRWA's Director of Communications, Juliette Touma, reported that nearly 190 of the agency's buildings in Gaza have been hit since the conflict began, with 193 UNRWA team members killed. The agency is currently investigating the details of the recent attack.

In addition to the airstrikes, humanitarian conditions in Gaza continue to deteriorate. Health officials at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya reported the deaths of two babies from malnutrition, bringing the total number of child deaths from malnutrition or dehydration since October 7 to at least 31. This number is feared to be an undercount.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that the intense phase of fighting in Rafah is nearing its end, but he emphasized that the war will continue until Hamas no longer controls Gaza. Netanyahu's comments came during an interview with Israel's Channel 14, where he indicated plans to redeploy forces to the north to address potential threats from Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The broader conflict, which began on October 7 when Hamas militants stormed into southern Israel, has resulted in over 37,600 Palestinian deaths according to Palestinian health authorities. The Israeli offensive, a response to the initial attack which killed approximately 1,200 Israelis and resulted in over 250 hostages being taken, has left much of Gaza in ruins.

As Israeli forces press on with their ground and air campaign, heavy fighting continues in western and northern Rafah. Residents report that Israeli snipers and drones are targeting civilians attempting to return to their homes. The Israeli military has claimed to locate weapons stores and tunnel shafts in Rafah, justifying their operations as necessary for eliminating threats posed by Palestinian militants.

The international community has expressed growing alarm over the escalating violence and its humanitarian impact. Calls for a ceasefire and negotiations have intensified, but diplomatic efforts have yet to yield concrete results. With the conflict showing no signs of abating, the plight of Gaza's civilian population remains dire.

Sources

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