Entire neighborhoods in Gaza have been destroyed by airstrikes, satellite images showed yesterday, as the UN warned: “Nowhere is safe.”
Israeli airstrikes on the enclave have reduced entire districts to rubble and forced an estimated 600,000 people into emergency shelters.
Satellite images showed the extent of the devastation, showing piles of rubble where homes, shops and businesses once stood.
Israel insisted its attacks targeted Hamas leaders and infrastructure and that it had warned civilians to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip and move south.
But there were also airstrikes in the south of the Palestinian territory, where more than a million people tried to reach safety.
The head of the United Nations’ Palestinian relief agency said Gaza now resembles “hell on earth,” with evacuated families facing intolerable dangers and hospitals unable to treat the wounded and dying.
Civil defense teams and local residents conduct a search and rescue operation for Palestinians trapped under the rubble of a destroyed building after Israeli airstrikes hit Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on October 24
A Palestinian child is assisted in searching for victims at the scene of an Israeli attack on a residential building in Gaza City on October 25
U.N. official Philippe Lazzarini said civilians in the Gaza Strip were not responsible for the deadly Hamas attacks that sparked the war and should not be punished for the gunmen’s brutality.
He wrote in the Guardian: “In one of the most populated places in the world, entire neighborhoods are being leveled over the heads of civilians… There is no safe place in Gaza.”
“The reality today in Gaza is that there is not much humanity left and all hell is breaking out.”
“History will ask why the world did not have the courage to act decisively and stop this hell on earth.” According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, some 7,028 Palestinians were killed in the airstrikes.
The US questioned the accuracy of the death toll, prompting authorities in Gaza to release a 212-page dossier with names and identification numbers. Thousands more have been injured and hospitals report having no power for life support machines or operating rooms.
Doctors operated without anesthetics and resorted to vinegar to clean wounds after supplies of antiseptics ran out. Nearly 3,000 children are believed to have been among the dead, and families have begun tying cotton bracelets to children’s wrists so their bodies can be identified.
Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour told an emergency meeting in New York: “What choice do you make as parents when there are only impossible choices?” “When death is everywhere, there is devastation everywhere.”
He said 40 percent of Gaza’s homes had been destroyed. Israel’s U.N. ambassador hit back by detailing the atrocities committed by Hamas gunmen during the Oct. 7 raids and holding up photos of those killed.
The international community largely supported Israel’s right to defend itself after the raids but now faces increasing calls for a ceasefire to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.
Aid groups said more than a million people fled after Israel issued an evacuation order to leave the northern Gaza Strip, putting a huge strain on scarce resources in the south. Up to 30,000 people have now returned to the north after finding no shelter, food or water.
Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings after Israeli airstrikes on the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis on Thursday
Charities said hunger was used as a “weapon of war” and people were so thirsty they drank sea water. Israel has eased its “total siege” on the Gaza Strip to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country on trucks from Egypt.
But aid workers say limited supplies of food, water and medicine represent only a tiny fraction of what is needed, and Israel has refused to let fuel in for fear it could be used by Hamas.
The United Nations said its emergency relief work could not continue without fuel, as trucks could no longer distribute aid and bakeries could not produce bread to feed the desperately hungry.
The World Health Organization said hospitals were “on the brink of an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe” as fuel and supplies ran out.
UN spokeswoman Tamara Alrifai said dwindling fuel supplies were insufficient for vital services. “Are we donating to the incubators or the bakeries?” she said. “It’s an agonizing decision.”
Last night, EU leaders called for “humanitarian corridors and breaks” to bring aid to Gaza, but stopped short of calling for a full ceasefire.