destruction in Palestine

Israel Launches Ongoing Assault on Gaza in 99th Day of Conflict

On the 99th day of the conflict, Israel continued its relentless assault on Gaza, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territory. A telecommunications blackout further intensified the challenges faced by the people of Gaza.

Concerns about the conflict escalated heightened after US and British forces targeted pro-Hamas Houthi rebels in Yemen in response to attacks on Red Sea shipping. A fresh US air strike was confirmed on Saturday. Witnesses reported Israeli bombardment in the early morning, with strikes and shelling hitting areas between Gaza’s southern cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah, where displaced individuals had sought refuge.

The situation worsened as all internet and telecommunications services in Gaza were severed due to Israeli bombardment, impacting the ability to provide prompt medical assistance. The main operator, Paltel, confirmed the blackout, stating on social media, “Gaza is blacked out again.” The disruption hindered the Palestinian Red Crescent’s efforts to reach the wounded and injured promptly.

The death toll from Israel’s continuous bombardment of Gaza has now reached at least 23,708 people, predominantly women and children, according to the latest health ministry figures. The conflict began when Hamas initiated an unprecedented attack on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, and the seizure of around 250 hostages by the militant group.

Aid access to northern Gaza remains a major concern, with Israel allegedly systematically blocking humanitarian aid convoys. Andrea De Domenico, head of the UN aid agency OCHA for the occupied Palestinian territories, expressed dismay at the situation, emphasizing that the denial of support to hospitals reached a level of inhumanity beyond comprehension.

In central Gaza, the main generator of Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah was forced to shut down due to a lack of fuel. The desperation for aid was palpable, as mourners questioned the silence of the international community while standing beside white body bags containing the latest casualties.

Despite the ongoing conflict, some individuals, such as Afnan and Moustapha in Rafah, chose to celebrate life by getting married. Ayman Shamlakh, the groom’s uncle, highlighted the shared tragedy but emphasized the importance of continuing with life amid the chaos.

Addressing concerns about hostages held in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced a deal with Qatar to deliver much-needed medicine. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum reported the captives’ poor health, prompting negotiations on the type and quantities of medicines required.

While the UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Turk, reiterated calls for the release of hostages, Israel criticized the UN human rights office for not emphasizing the hostages’ release in a statement marking the impending 100th day of the conflict.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli troops killed three militants who attacked a Jewish settlement, according to the army. The surge in violence in the West Bank has resulted in at least 337 people killed by Israeli troops or settlers since the beginning of the Gaza war, as reported by the health ministry in Ramallah.

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