At least 22 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Yunis as fighting in the war-torn Gaza Strip continued on Thursday. Over 100 people were rescued from under the rubble of a family house and its surroundings in the city of Khan Yunis, which is in the south of Gaza.
Footages from the rescue operation showed a Gazan boy being rescued from rubble after his home was hit by an Israeli airstrike. The rescuers can be seen toiling in the ruins of the wrecked buildings trying to save the child.
According to the UN, about 1,600 people, including 900 children, have been reported missing and may be under the rubble in Gaza. As many as 481 people, including 209 kids, were killed over the past 24 hours, a UN report said.
About 45 per cent of housing units in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed (16,441), rendered uninhabitable (11,340), or moderately/lightly damaged (1,50,000), since the start of the hostilities, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing.
Israel had told civilians in the northern Gaza Strip on October 12 to move to the south of the enclave, saying it would be safer there as its military attacked Hamas.
However, Israel has continued to hit sites in southern Gaza, spreading fear among the evacuees that they are just as vulnerable there as they were in their homes in the north.
The bombardment of the south reportedly intensified on October 25 with a strike bringing down several apartment buildings in Khan Younis.
Israel has claimed that the Hamas operatives killed 1,400 people in their surprise cross-border attack on October 7, while Gaza’s health ministry has said that more than 7,000 Palestinians have died in air strikes since then.
Nowhere is safe in Gaza
As Israel continued its bombardment, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Lynne Hastings, said that “nowhere is safe in Gaza”. In a statement, she said that despite the Israeli military issuing warnings to people in Gaza City to leave, “advance warnings make no difference”.
“When the evacuation routes are bombed, when people north as well as south are caught up in hostilities when the essentials for survival are lacking, and when there are no assurances for return, people are left with nothing but impossible choices. Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” she said.
An estimated 1.4 million people in Gaza are internally displaced, with some 6,41,000 sheltering in 150 UN-designated emergency shelters.
Humanitarian aid arrives in Gaza
The Rafah crossing with Egypt opened for the sixth consecutive day on Thursday, allowing the entry of 12 trucks carrying water, food, and medical supplies. The total number of trucks with humanitarian aid that entered Gaza since October 21 have now increased to 74.
The entry of fuel, however, remains banned by the Israeli authorities.