A wounded Palestinian woman runs following Israeli airstrikes that targeted her neighbourhood in Gaza City, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.
More than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli rockets, bombs, mortars and artillery shells since the onslaught began on October 8, according the Health Ministry of the Hamas government in the enclave. Another 15,000 have been wounded, and victims of the bombardment have swamped the 19 hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
The 5,087 officially killed include more than 2,000 children under 18 and about 1,100 women, the Health Ministry said Monday. More children have died in Gaza in two weeks than have been killed in the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine in 20 months.
Even the horrific toll reported by the Health Ministry seems likely to be a major undercount. The Israeli Air Force says that it has so far carried out strikes against more than 10,000 targets in Gaza, and its huge bombs and missile warheads, all supposedly “precision” weapons, are targeted against concentrations of people, either inside buildings or out in the open.
A staggering 1.4 million out of the 2.3 million population of Gaza have fled their homes, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Association (UNRWA), which provides aid to the Palestinian population. Nearly 580,000 are seeking refuge in UNRWA-run schools and shelters, the agency said. Some 40 percent of the housing stock of the entire enclave has been destroyed or damaged in the Israeli bombing. UNRWA said that 29 members of its staff, half of them teachers, have been killed since the bombing began.
The most criminal aspect of the overnight bombings of October 22-23 is that many of the 320 strikes acknowledged by the Israel Defense Forces were in southern Gaza, the region where the IDF has told Palestinians to go to in order to avoid becoming targets in the impending ground invasion by Israeli forces.
IDF warplanes have dropped tons of leaflets on northern Gaza telling the population to evacuate to the south. But the fighter bombers and missiles have followed the movement of the population and targeted hospitals, refugee encampments and columns of people fleeing the north.