Israeli Air Strikes Kill Over 1,000 People in Gaza
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancels meeting with Biden
Over 4,000 Palestinians killed, 12,500 wounded since Oct 7
GAZA: Israeli air strikes on a hospital compound in the Gaza Strip killed at least 1000 people, the Associated Press quoted the Gaza Health Ministry as saying on Tuesday — the eve of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East.
Biden’s visit, potentially the riskiest of his presidency, is expected to see him reaffirm US backing for Israel and try to stop the escalating war spiralling into wider conflict.
Thousands of people have been killed since Hamas’ October 7 attack, with most of the dead on both sides civilians.
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancels meeting with Biden
- WHO meeting ‘decision-makers’ today to open Gaza access as soon as possible
- Over 4,000 Palestinians killed, 12,500 wounded since Oct 7; Gaza hospitals at ‘breaking point’
- Israel says 199 hostages taken by Hamas fighters
- Biden set to visit Israel; Chinese envoy heads to Middle East; FM Jilani in Jeddah for OIC session
The health ministry said 1000 people displaced by 10 days of heavy bombardment were killed in “occupation (Israeli) strikes” at the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza.
“Hundreds of victims are still under the rubble,” a statement said, calling it a “war crime”.
Soon after the deadly strikes, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled his scheduled meeting with the US president, Reuters reported quoting a Palestinian official.
Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari told a televised press briefing: “We will look into it… the strike happened just a short while ago.”
Separately, the United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees said six people were killed when one of its schools sheltering displaced families was hit, during Israeli air strikes.
UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini called the bombing at Al-Maghazi refugee camp, also in central Gaza, “outrageous” and warned the death toll would likely rise.
“It again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians. No place is safe in Gaza anymore, not even UNRWA facilities,” he added.
Death toll in Gaza climbs to 4,000
Around 4,000 people, mostly children, have been killed in Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip over the past 10 days, the Palestinian health ministry said on Monday as the humanitarian crisis in the enclave continues to worsen.
More than 12,500 others have been wounded since Israel started bombarding Gaza in retaliation for Hamas attacks in Israel which killed more than 1,400 people. The ministry added that 61 Palestinians were also killed while 1,250 were wounded in the occupied West Bank during the same period.
Israel has vowed to annihilate the Hamas group after its fighters killed 1,300 people — the deadliest single day in Israel’s 75-year history. It now prepares to escalate a ground offensive in response to the Hamas blitz.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for broad international support in the country’s war against Hamas.
“The savagery that we witnessed perpetrated by the Hamas murderers coming out of Gaza were the worst crimes committed against Jews since the Holocaust,” Netanyahu said, referring to the extermination of more than six million Jews by the Nazis.
Israel has tightened its blockade on Gaza, including by restricting the entry of food, water and fuel and bombarding the area with air strikes that have killed thousands of Palestinians, displaced hundreds of thousands more and resulted in severe shortages of food, water and medical supplies.
According to the United Nations’ World Food Programme, the food situation in the besieged Gaza Strip is running “really short”.
“Inside the shops, the stocks are getting close to less than a few days, maybe four or five days of food stocks left,” WFP’s Middle East spokeswoman Abeer Etefa, told reporters in Geneva via video link from Cairo.
She said that out of five flour mills in the Gaza Strip, only one was operating due to security concerns and the unavailability of fuel.
“So the bread supply is running low and people are lining up for hours to get bread,” she said.
Only five bakeries out of 23 in Gaza contracted by WFP were still in operation, she added. “Our food supplies within Gaza are running really short,” said Etefa.
The spokeswoman said there has been no looting of WFP warehouses, and “anyway, whatever we have left in the warehouses is so little”.
“Hospitals are at a breaking point and are overflowing and with people desperately seeking a safe shelter,” the WHO has said.
“Crowding is getting worse. Over 30,000 people are sheltering at Shifa Hospital alone,” the UN agency told AFP, quoting Hamas health ministry figures.
“We are extremely concerned about disease outbreaks due to mass displacement and poor water and sanitation among people who are already in a dire situation.”
The hospitals are attractive because they have been relatively spared from the Israeli bombing raids that have hit Gaza every day since the October 7 attacks.
But the WHO says that 111 medical buildings have been hit, 12 medical workers have been killed and 60 ambulances targeted.
About one million people from northern Gaza have moved to Khan Yunis and other southern districts to avoid the looming Israeli ground offensive.
About 100,000 people are left in the northern district around Gaza City that Israel says is a Hamas stronghold and has warned will be the target of its assault.
Conditions across the tiny territory are worsening every day for the 2.4 million population, according to aid agencies.
Unicef, the UN children’s agency, has said that unless water and fuel are sent “immediately”, Gaza inhabitants are in “imminent danger” of epidemics and death.