Friday, December 8, 2023

Toll of Palestinians martyred by Israeli strikes rises to 7,028 including 2,913 children

Toll of Palestinians martyred by Israeli strikes rises to 7,028 including 2,913 children
October 26, 2023 Web Desk

GAZA (AFP) - The Hamas-run health ministry on Thursday said that at least 7,028 people have been martyred in Gaza by Israeli strikes since the militant group's October 7 attacks on Israel.

Some 2,913 children and 1,709 women are among the martyrs – marking the highest number of war fatalities in Gaza since Israel unilaterally withdrew from the territory in 2005. Israel sent tanks, troops and armoured bulldozers into the Gaza Strip in a 'targeted raid overnight that destroyed multiple sites before withdrawing from the Hamas-run territory.

Black smoke billowed into the night sky after a blast in the grainy night-vision footage the military released hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared preparations for a ground war were underway.

On the 20th day of Israel's deadliest Gaza war yet, that has already killed thousands, the army said its forces had hit "numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts".

The operation in northern Gaza came in "preparation for the next stages of combat", it said, adding that the soldiers had "returned to Israeli territory". The black-and-white video showed a column of armoured vehicles moving near Gaza's border fence. Other footage appeared to show an air strike and buildings being struck with munitions, sending debris flying high into the air.

"We saw them getting bombarded -- the children got bombarded while their mother was hugging them," the woman said, desperately pleading for help from the outside world. "Where are the Arabs, where is humanity?" she said. "Have mercy on us, have mercy on us."

 'Nowhere is safe'

The war's surging death toll is by far the highest since Israel unilaterally withdrew from the small coastal territory in 2005 -- a period that has seen four previous Gaza wars.

Entire neighbourhoods have been razed, surgeons are operating without anaesthetic on some of the wounded, and ice-cream trucks have become makeshift morgues.

In chaotic scenes, volunteer emergency crew and neighbours have clawed, sometimes with their bare hands, through broken concrete and sand to pull out civilian casualties. All too often they recover only their corpses, which have piled up, wrapped in blood-stained white shrouds.