Over 150 Killed in Latest Overnight Strikes
At least 165 Palestinians were killed overnight in the Gaza Strip as Israel continued its aerial bombardment campaign. This brings the total death toll to over 27,000 since the conflict escalated nearly 5 months ago, according to health officials in Gaza.
The recent strikes targeted densely populated areas in Gaza City, Rafah, and Khan Younis. Rescue workers spent the night digging through the rubble of destroyed buildings searching for survivors.
“We pulled out the bodies of a mother, father and their three young children from the debris of their home at dawn,” said one medic from the Gaza Civil Defense. “The youngest was just a toddler.”
Hospital morgues are overflowing as medical facilities continue to be overwhelmed. With much of Gaza’s infrastructure destroyed, doctors have resorted to storing corpses in vegetable refrigeration units.
Hamas Weighs Truce Proposal as Civilian Death Toll Mounts
The latest spike in fatalities has increased pressure on Hamas to accept a truce proposal brokered by Egypt. The militant group has demanded that Israel lift its blockade on Gaza as a condition for any long-term ceasefire agreement.
“We cannot keep watching our wives and children buried under rubble while the world does nothing,” said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum. “If a genuine halt to Israel’s aggression is proposed, we are ready to discuss it.”
Israel has stated that any truce deal must include the demilitarization of Gaza and a prisoner swap for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in 2014. Hamas rejects these terms.
The international community continues to call for an immediate ceasefire and resumption of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. However, Israel has ignored these pleas as it continues to target Hamas military sites in Gaza.
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Gazan Health System Nearing Total Collapse
Gaza’s health sector is on the verge of collapse after nearly 5 months of relentless Israeli bombing. Vital medical supplies are running dangerously low as hospitals struggle to cope with the overwhelming number of casualties.
Oxygen tanks, antibiotics, IV fluids, anesthesia, and blood bags are in critically short supply. With electricity blackouts up to 18 hours per day, hospital backup generators are breaking down from overuse.
“We are barely functioning at this point,” said director of Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility. “Any sort of complicated surgery is impossible now with no power, supplies, or staff.”
The psychological trauma on medical teams working 24/7 in horrific conditions has also reached a tipping point. Rising rates of suicide, PTSD, and depression among healthcare workers are further straining already threadbare services.
Gaza Left with Just Two Refuge Cities as Israel Ignores Ceasefire Pleas
Rafah and Khan Younis near the Egyptian border are now the only remaining safe havens for Palestinians fleeing Israeli bombing campaigns in other areas of Gaza. However, there are reports that Israel has begun targeting these final two refuge cities as well in the past few days.
Global leaders along with humanitarian groups like the UN have strongly urged Israel to stop attacks on purely civilian areas with no Hamas presence. But so far these requests have been dismissed.
“What is happening now in Gaza is a televised genocide,” stated a joint letter from two dozen aid agencies operating in the region. “If the world continues standing by in silence, we could witness a crime against humanity unfold before our eyes.”
With most Gazans barred from leaving the strip by Israel and Egypt, there is literally nowhere left for families to escape to safety. Many are hiding in schools and mosques praying they won’t be the next target.
It remains unclear if or when the two warring parties may agree to a ceasefire. Israel insists any long-term deal must include the disarming of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, which Hamas refuses to accept before lifting of the blockade.
In the meantime, the civilian body count continues to mount hourly as renewed talks between Hamas and Egypt raise hopes of a possible imminent truce. However, with violence flaring and negotiating positions hardening on both sides, the light at the end of the tunnel still seems very dim for those trapped in Gaza.
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