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The children who were hurriedly brought to Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza on Thursday were covered in a gray substance, making it difficult to tell who was alive and who was not.
Following two airstrikes by Israeli forces, a block of apartment buildings in the Bureij refugee camp was completely destroyed and two U.N. schools converted into shelters were damaged. The hospital was overwhelmed with rubble-covered Palestinian residents of all ages seeking medical attention.
Small, still figures were spread out on the unyielding surface of the hospital floor. A young boy was bleeding profusely from a head wound while medical personnel attempted to stop the flow. Next to him was a baby wearing an oxygen mask, his body covered in ash and struggling to breathe. Their father sat by their side.
“Behold, America and Israel! These are your children. Our children are dying every day.”
Over the course of about four weeks of conflict, over 3,700 children and adolescents from Palestine have lost their lives. Additionally, airstrikes have forced over half of the population of 2.3 million to flee their homes, and resources such as food, water, and fuel are becoming scarce.
As the Israeli military surrounds Gaza City and continues with a land-based attack, the number of casualties is predicted to rise.
The conflict began when the Hamas militant group launched a violent attack across the border on October 7, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 individuals in Israel and the taking of 240 others as hostages. According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, more than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since then. This is the fifth and most deadly war between these two adversaries.
The reason for Israel’s targeting of Bureij, a central Gaza location, is not currently evident. Israel has advised individuals to seek shelter in this area to avoid the intense violence occurring further north.
The military announced that airstrikes in Gaza were aimed at hidden Hamas military centers in areas with civilian populations. However, the statement did not specify Bureij. Israel claims that Hamas is deliberately using innocent civilians as shields.
According to Gaza’s Civil Defense, at least 15 people were killed in the Bureij strikes on Thursday. Dozens more are thought to be trapped under debris.
Emergency medical personnel and initial responders have faced difficulties in removing those who are wounded or deceased because of damaged infrastructure and limited access to fuel. As a result, relatives, neighbors, or anyone capable of moving the injured have been bringing them to hospitals.
In the town of Bureij, where around 46,000 individuals reside, Palestinians worked to clear through the debris in hopes of finding survivors. A young girl was discovered buried under the wreckage and was rushed to the emergency room. Despite having a bloody foot and an ash-covered face, she reassured the medical staff that she was unharmed.
Frankel wrote from Jerusalem.
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