Dozens of people, including children, have been killed as “extremely intense” Israeli airstrikes and shelling pounded multiple locations in Rafah overnight Monday, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), as international alarm mounts over Israel’s planned ground offensive in the southern Gazan city.
More than 100 people were killed due to Israeli airstrikes as warplanes targeted different areas of the city and helicopters fired machine guns along the border areas, the PRCS said early Monday. The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza said 94 people lost their lives.
The PRCS said that its teams were struggling to reach the wounded and the dead amid the ongoing bombardment and the rubble of collapsed buildings. It said that many of the victims were women and children, and that some of them were buried under the debris.
The PRCS also said that the Israeli strikes had damaged or destroyed several of its ambulances, clinics, and warehouses, as well as other civilian infrastructure, such as water and electricity networks, schools, and mosques.
The PRCS called on the international community to intervene and stop the Israeli aggression, and to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, who are facing a severe crisis due to the war and the blockade.
The Israeli military said that it had struck more than 150 targets in Rafah and other parts of Gaza, including Hamas’ tunnel network, rocket launchers, command centers, weapons depots, and operatives. It said that it was responding to the continuous rocket fire from Gaza, which had reached as far as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beersheba, killing or injuring dozens of Israelis and disrupting daily life.
The Israeli military also said that it was preparing for a ground invasion of Rafah, which it said was a stronghold of Hamas and a gateway for smuggling weapons and fighters from Egypt. It said that it had warned the civilians in the area to evacuate before launching the operation, and that it was doing its best to avoid harming them.
The Israeli military also said that it was determined to achieve its objectives in the war, which it said were to degrade Hamas’ military capabilities and deter it from future attacks, and to restore security and stability to Israel and its citizens.
All in Ruins
The war in Gaza, which has entered its fourth month, has killed more than 28,000 Palestinians, and displaced more than 1.9 million, according to the United Nations (UN). The war has also caused widespread destruction and suffering in Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire have targeted Hamas’ military and civilian infrastructure, including its tunnel network, rocket launchers, command centers, media offices, hospitals, schools, and homes.
The war has also caused significant damage and trauma in Israel, where Hamas’ rockets and drones have reached as far as Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Beersheba, killing or injuring hundreds of Israelis and disrupting daily life. The war has also sparked unrest and violence in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and inside Israel, where clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, and between Jewish and Arab citizens, have erupted, resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries.
The war in Gaza has sparked alarm and outrage among the Arab and Muslim world, as well as the international community, who have condemned Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, and have called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, and for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has claimed thousands of lives and caused endless suffering and misery for both sides.
The war in Gaza has also challenged the role and influence of the United States (US), which has been Israel’s staunchest ally and protector, but which has also faced pressure and opposition from its own allies, partners, and institutions, such as the European Union, the UN, and the International Criminal Court, to end the hostilities and to pursue a just and lasting peace.
The war in Gaza has also reshaped the regional and global dynamics, where some Arab and Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Turkey, have tried to mediate and provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, while others, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, have maintained their normalization agreements with Israel, despite the public outcry.
The war in Gaza has also drawn the attention and involvement of other major powers, such as Russia, China, and Iran, who have expressed their support and solidarity with the Palestinians, and who have sought to increase their influence and interests in the Middle East.
The war in Gaza has shown the complexity and difficulty of resolving the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has claimed thousands of lives and caused endless suffering and misery for both sides. The war has also shown the need and urgency for a just and lasting peace, based on mutual recognition, respect, and coexistence, between Israel and the Palestinians, and between Jews and Arabs, in the land they both call home.