Sat. May 18th, 2024

The Gaza Strip has witnessed its deadliest day in 15 years following an unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel. According to Palestinian officials, Israeli air strikes have resulted in the deaths of nearly 300 Palestinians within a 24-hour period. Among the casualties are a mother, her three-month-old twins, and three sisters who were killed in an air strike in the southern Gaza Strip. Rescue efforts are still underway to find survivors in the rubble. Israel’s main military spokesperson has referred to the Hamas attack as “the worst massacre of innocent civilians in Israel’s history,” and the response from Israel has been severe.

As of now, the Health Ministry in Gaza has reported a total of 370 Palestinians killed and 2,200 wounded, with Saturday marking the highest number of Palestinian casualties in Gaza from Israeli attacks since 2008. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to take “mighty vengeance” for the attack. In Gaza, a survivor named Sabreen Abu Daqqa woke up in the hospital to discover that three of her children had been killed, two others were wounded, and the fate of one child was uncertain. Abu Daqqa described how everything collapsed on top of them, and it took three hours for rescuers to remove the rubble.

Israeli air strikes began immediately after the Hamas attack and continued overnight, targeting the group’s offices, training camps, and other buildings. Abu Daqqa and residents of three other destroyed homes claim that they received no prior warning from Israel, which differed from previous rounds of attacks during which Israeli security forces had alerted residents to evacuate. The Israeli military, however, declined to comment on this claim. The Israeli army has reported the destruction of 800 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip thus far, but Salama Marouf, head of the Hamas government media office, dismissed this as a cover to justify aggression against civilians.

In Rafah city, an Israeli air strike killed 12 members of the Abu Qouta family, with seven other family members believed to be buried under the rubble. The Gaza Strip, home to approximately 2 million people, has been under Hamas control since 2007. The territory has long suffered from economic struggles due to a blockade imposed by Israel with the assistance of Egypt. As the air strikes began on Saturday, thousands of Palestinians living near the Israeli border fled their homes. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) reported that at least 20,000 Palestinians sought shelter in 44 schools it operates in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA also confirmed that two students from its schools were among those killed, and three schools sustained damage from the Israeli airstrikes.

Amidst the violence, teacher Eid Al-Attar rushed to an UNRWA school with his five children and wheelchair-bound brother as air strikes targeted their houses in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya. Al-Attar expressed the hardships endured by Palestinians, stating that they had already experienced five previous wars, each more difficult and severe than the last. Hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed and relying on worn-out generators for electricity after Israel cut off the 120 megawatts it supplies to the area. Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz declared that Israel would halt power supply to the Gaza Strip, implying a significant shift in Israel’s perspective on the situation.

(Note: This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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