Unicef: At least 100 children with amputated legs, 13800 killed in six months of war

After which Israel launched a ground campaign to destroy the Islamist movement in retaliation. Gaza has been turned into a wasteland with an unfolding humanitarian disaster, according to Reuters

by Sededin Dedovic
Unicef: At least 100 children with amputated legs, 13800 killed in six months of war
© Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Six months have passed since Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel, an event that shocked the world. Over a thousand people were killed and hundreds of hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip, prompting a retaliatory Israeli ground campaign to crush the Islamist movement.

Gaza has been turned into a wasteland, with a growing humanitarian disaster, as Reuters reports. Israel's ground offensive began in northern Gaza, forcing hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate and flee south. The first days resulted in a brutal IDF rocket attack on Gaza, which left behind post-apocalyptic scenes and thousands of civilian deaths.

After a week of truce at the end of November, Israeli forces turned towards the south, where at that time there were over a million refugees, mostly women, children, the infirm and the elderly. Health authorities in Gaza report that around 33,000 Palestinians have been confirmed killed, of which around 40% are children, while thousands of bodies have still not been found under the rubble.

Gaza is a relatively small area where over 2 million Palestinians lived, which is the most densely populated part of the world. In the six months since the 7 October attacks in which 33 children were killed, more than 13,800 children have been killed in Gaza and 113 in the West Bank, and over 12,009 children have been injured in Gaza and at least 725 children in the West Bank , according to OCHA and the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

UNICEF reported at least 1,000 children have had one or both legs amputated, and about 30 out of 36 hospitals have been bombed, leaving only 10 partially functioning. More than 70,000 people were wounded, which is about five percent of the population killed or wounded, not including deaths from starvation, unsanitary conditions and the collapse of health care.

Two boys sit amongst the rubble as people inspect damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli air strikes on Apr© Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

Israel claims to have killed more than 13,000 Hamas fighters and blames the militants for civilian casualties, claiming they are among them, including a network of underground bunkers and tunnels.

Hamas denies that its fighters operate among civilians. At the beginning of the conflict, Israel imposed a total blockade. He allowed aid gradually, first through a foot checkpoint from Egypt and then through a nearby road checkpoint from Israel itself.

Israel says it does not impose restrictions on food and humanitarian supplies, but aid agencies and donor countries say complicated Israeli inspections mean shipments can be held up for weeks, and only a fraction of the 500 trucks a day that Gaza once relied on get through.

According to the definition of experts, hunger has three stages - severe lack of food leading to widespread malnutrition and eventually mass death from starvation and disease. The Global Hunger Monitor's Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) states that Gaza has already exceeded the first two criteria - food shortages and malnutrition - and that mass death will begin "soon" without immediate aid delivery.

The IPC has been warning for months that Gaza is experiencing the worst food insecurity it has ever seen. The March report said 100% of Gaza's population was experiencing severe food insecurity, and for half the population - well above the 20% rate associated with hunger - this had reached the highest level, category 5 or "catastrophe".

In southern Gaza, where Reuters journalists are based, some residents are forced to feed their children boiled leaves. Reuters witnessed a number of children being treated for acute malnutrition at a hospital in Rafah, while conditions are said to be far worse in the north.

In addition to hunger, aid agencies are also concerned about the lack of health care and sanitation. There are no more fully functional hospitals in the north, and only a few in the south. Washington called the planned attack a mistake and argued that Israel should target militants with tactics that would do less harm to civilians.

The United Nations warns that an attack on Rafah would cause a humanitarian disaster. Many Palestinians fear that Israel's ultimate goal is to drive them out of Gaza into Egypt, which Israel denies. US President Joe Biden strongly supported Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas after the October 7 attack, but also urged Israelis not to be overwhelmed by anger in a speech in Tel Aviv.

Since then, he and other administration officials have stepped up calls for Israel to do more to protect civilians and provide aid. Washington says its broader goal is a peace deal to normalize relations between Arab states and Israel, which calls for the prospect of an eventual Palestinian state, a centerpiece of US policy for decades that Netanyahu has rejected.

Washington has repeatedly blocked a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire. The United States continues to supply Israel with arms and ammunition.