Gaza Under Siege: Airstrikes Obliterate Family Home, Killing 17

The situation in Gaza has reached a critical point as Israeli military operations intensify, plunging the Palestinian enclave into a worsening humanitarian crisis.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Gaza Under Siege: Airstrikes Obliterate Family Home, Killing 17
© Getty Images News/Ahmad Hasaballah

The situation in Gaza has reached a critical point as Israeli military operations intensify, plunging the Palestinian enclave into a worsening humanitarian crisis.

Rising Tensions and Human Cost

Since last Tuesday, the Israeli military has been actively engaged in Khan Younis, a city in the southern part of Gaza.

Described as "intense battles" with Hamas fighters, these operations have significantly escalated the conflict. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) starkly illustrates the dire situation, reporting "unimaginable loss, destruction and misery." The statement adds, "everyone in Gaza is hungry," highlighting the severe impact on civilians.

The conflict's toll on human life became tragically evident on Thursday in Gaza City. Seventeen members of a single family lost their lives when their home was struck by a series of Israeli airstrikes. Among the deceased were four children, while several others remain trapped under the debris.

Rafaat Abu Shiha, a 56-year-old relative, conveyed the harrowing details in a phone interview. “The building was hit twice with missiles from a drone and once with a missile from a fighter jet," he recounted, learning of the event from neighbors.

In response to these events, Israel's security cabinet approved a minimal increase in fuel supply to Gaza. However, global leaders and aid groups stress the need for much more substantial assistance.

A Region in Ruins

The Israeli bombing and military campaign have followed what was a deadly attack by Hamas on October 7.

This attack resulted in the death of approximately 1,200 Israelis, predominantly civilians, and saw over 240 people taken hostage. Since then, the Israeli response has transformed much of Gaza into what resembles a wasteland.

Airstrikes have demolished entire neighborhoods, and according to the United Nations, nearly 1.9 million people, constituting 85% of Gaza's population, have been forced to flee their homes. Rafaat, now among the displaced, makes a desperate plea for help: "Eight children and three women are still under the rubble with no ambulances helping." The Palestine Red Crescent Society announced on Wednesday the suspension of its ambulance operations in northern Gaza, citing fuel shortages and hospital closures as critical impediments to evacuating civilians.

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