The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have recently conducted a significant operation against Hamas in Gaza, focusing on the militant group's underground infrastructure. According to the IDF, they successfully located and destroyed an apartment in Gaza City, believed to be a hideout of Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' leader in Gaza.
This operation is part of a broader Israeli strategy to dismantle Hamas’ operational capabilities. During the operation, IDF’s 14th Reserve Brigade Combat Team discovered a sophisticated network of tunnels, which included a 20-meter-deep shaft leading to a 218-meter-long tunnel.
The tunnel was equipped with an electrical network, ventilation, sewage infrastructure, and even prayer rooms. The IDF emphasized that the tunnel was designed for long-term occupancy and combat operations. This discovery highlights the extent of Hamas' preparations for prolonged conflicts.
Health Crisis in Gaza
In the backdrop of military operations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised alarms about the escalating health crisis in Gaza. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, expressed serious concern over the spread of infectious diseases, exacerbated by the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Many are now living in overcrowded shelters and strained health facilities, creating a fertile ground for disease outbreaks. The WHO reported alarming statistics from mid-October to mid-December, including about 180,000 cases of upper respiratory infections, over 136,000 cases of diarrhea, significant occurrences of lice, scabies, and chickenpox, among other health concerns.
The organization is working to bolster disease surveillance and control, supply essential medicines and testing kits, and improve access to clean water, food, and sanitation services.
Strained Medical Infrastructure
The situation is further complicated by the dire state of Gaza's medical infrastructure.
According to a recent statement by the WHO, only 13 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are partially functioning, with two others minimally operational. This has put an immense strain on the remaining medical facilities, struggling to cope with the rising health demands amidst the ongoing conflict.