25 July 2014
The Gaza bombardment is now in its 18th day.
Since attacks started on the 7th July, Israeli airstrikes. followed by the ground invasion on 13th July, have claimed more than 820 Palestinian lives, at least 185 of whom have been children. Over 5,200 people have been wounded including at least 1,500 children.
Israel has also targeted hospitals and medical personnel. Five hospitals and 10 Primary Health Care clinics have been damaged and 13 health facilities have had to be closed due to attacks. 12 ambulances have also been damaged, 29 health personnel injured, and 3 killed by Israeli airstrikes.
Our Gaza team report that only a very limited number of injured people requiring critical care have been successfully referred through the Rafah or Erez crossings. The rest of the huge number of injured are being treated in hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
On Monday 21st, Gaza’s al-Aqsa hospital was struck by Israeli fire in what was one of the worst attacks on medical centres during the current escalation. The al-Aqsa hospital serves the middle of the Gaza Strip and is the only hospital in the area. Israeli missiles hit the second and third floors, striking the surgical department and the patient waiting room. One of the patients was killed, and another three people died on the spot. Many more were injured, including some of the medical team. Now, the director of our Gaza Office, Fikr Shalltoot, reports that the staff don’t know when they will be able to get to back to work.
Almost 150,000 people have now been displaced from their homes and are sheltering in UN schools and other facilities. The UN reports that 44% of Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on earth, has now been designated as a ‘no go area’ by Israel.
On Thursday 24th July, more than 15 Palestinians were killed and 200 injured when a UN school in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, being used to house hundreds of displaced people was hit. Reports indicate that UN staff had been attempting to coordinate an evacuation of the school when the attack took place. The majority of those injured were women and children.
Talks are ongoing to negotiate a ceasefire. US Secretary of State John Kerry has reportedly drafted a new proposal which is under discussion by all parties.