In previous offensives, Nebal Farsakh admitted, there was always a time when Israel was not bombarded. “But, now, not even a minute. That’s why the casualties keep increasing,” said Farsakh, spokesman for the Palestinian Red Crescent.
What would an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza look like?
At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Associated Press reporters witnessed the wounded spilling out the doors as lifeless bodies arrived under the covers. As workers cleaned up the blood and relatives carried children with shrapnel wounds to the operating room, explosions continued to echo around the hospital.
For five days, Israeli warplanes bombarded Gaza with an intensity that its residents had never experienced. The airstrikes have killed more than 1,100 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Authorities did not establish a specific number of civilians among the dead, but aid workers warned that Israel’s decision to impose a “total siege” on the crowded enclave of 2.3 million people created in a humanitarian disaster that affects almost all of them.
There is no drinking water, and after the territory’s only power plant ran out of fuel on Wednesday, electricity became a precious commodity as the enclave remained in near-total darkness at night.
“This is an unprecedented level of destruction,” said Miriam Marmur, spokeswoman for Gisha, an Israeli human rights group: “Israel’s decisions to cut off supplies of electricity, fuel, food and medicine exacerbates the risks for the Palestinians and “threatens to increase dramatically. the loss of human life.”
Israel’s shelling has intensified in retaliation for an unprecedented attack by Hamas militants in which the army says more than 1,200 Israelis have been killed and many more kidnapped.
Even in normal times, Gaza’s hospitals are poorly supplied, said Richard Brennan, regional director of the World Health Organization. Now there are shortages of everything from bandages to intravenous fluids, beds and essential medicines.
“It’s almost the worst thing that could happen,” Brennan said. “It’s not just the damage, it’s the destruction. It is a psychological pressure. “The constant bombing … the loss of comrades.”
At Shifa hospital, Muhammad al-Gharabli told the AP that on Monday he saw missiles crash into a mosque in the Shati refugee camp, killing his two-year-old son, Mohammed, and he was injured with shrapnel. five year old son, Lotfi.
Al-Gharabli claimed that when he regained consciousness, he saw the bodies of dozens of residents scattered among the ruins of their homes.
Bombings of civilian buildings and refugee camps
Israel claims it is only pursuing military objectives and is doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, a claim denied by Palestinians in Gaza. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, eight journalists and six doctors were killed. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees reported that 11 of its employees were among the dead.
“I have lived through all the wars and attacks in the past, but I have never witnessed anything worse than this war,” Yamen Hamad, 35, a father of four, told Reuters after his house in the northern town of Beit Hanoun was destroyed by Israeli attacks.
The settlement, near the border with Israel, was one of the first areas to be hit hard by the retaliatory attacks, with many roads and buildings destroyed and thousands displaced, according to local residents.
Ala al-Kafarneh told Reuters he fled the city on Saturday with his pregnant wife, father, siblings, cousins and in-laws. They headed to a refugee camp on the coast, where they hoped to be safer, but airstrikes began targeting the area as well, so they headed to Sheikh Radwan, another district in the east.
On Tuesday night, an airstrike hit the building where he and his family were sheltering, killing everyone except him. “We escaped danger and went to death,” Kafarneh said at the gates of Shifa hospital.
Kafarneh spoke on the sidewalk in front of the hospital, where hundreds of people had gathered, some of them hoping that their proximity to the center would save them from the bombing.
Some brought blankets or strips of cardboard to sleep on, others lay directly on the bare ground. There are long lines to use some hospital restrooms.
Among them is Youssef Dayer, who no longer has a home. “Maybe it’s safe,” he said hopefully. “Maybe. It’s a peaceful civil area, right? Maybe not. It seems like no place is safe.”