Israel’s unrelenting assault on the Gaza Strip continues as the death toll has reached 18,000 Palestinians killed in just over two months. Airstrikes rocked the Nuseirat and Maghazi refugee camps in central Gaza overnight. At least 23 people were killed in Maghazi. Airstrikes also struck at least two residential homes in Rafah. Meanwhile, the ground battle is pushing ahead in Khan Younis, which is under heavy bombardment.
Gazan women say Israeli soldiers forced them to leave their husbands and sons behind and flee their Gaza City homes. They spoke from the Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Deir al-Balah where they were taking refuge.
Amnah Abu Zor: “They made us go to the south. They did not let us wait for our husbands. They said, 'Go to the south from here, and that is it,' and they made us leave. They lied to us, saying the road is safe, but they were shooting us throughout the way.”
Dina Abu Zor: “We asked the Israeli interrogator, 'Where are our male relatives?' He said, 'They are gone. No one is left.' We asked about the children. He said all of them are gone. Palestine is gone. Gaza is gone.”
The mass displacement and war on the besieged territory has led to a public health disaster. The U.N.'s World Food Programme warns half of Gaza's population of over 2 million people is starving and that nine out of 10 people are not able to eat every day. As clean water becomes more scarce, diarrhea, skin infections, acute viral hepatitis, scabies and measles are multiplying. Earlier today, the World Health Organization passed a resolution calling for immediate humanitarian aid access and an end to fighting in Gaza.
In the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, usually busy streets and commercial areas are empty today in observance of a general strike for Gaza. Global actions are also taking place today, including marches and calls to refrain from buying anything.
Meanwhile, a U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon is warning the likelihood of a “wider conflict” is increasing amid escalating cross-border violence between Israel and Hezbollah.