The Israeli military continued to pummel Gaza with airstrikes on Sunday, including residential neighborhoods in the south, as a top IDF commander said the bombing would now intensify ahead of an expected ground invasion.
Despite urging Palestinians and others caught in Gaza to flee the northern areas, bombings that claimed the lives of yet more civilians — including children — were reported in Khan Younis and the city of Rafah.
The attacks came hours after the IDF’s Rear Adm Daniel Hagari called on Gaza’s residents to move south “for your own safety.”
“The situation we are in now is unprecedented and cannot be described with words. No words in the world can describe the situation we are in.” —Rawya Halas, Gaza Training College
“We will deepen our attacks to minimize the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war,” Hagari said, possibly hinting at the ground invasion. “We are going to increase the attacks, from today.”
Israeli airstrikes continue this morning in Rafah, the very Southern part of Gaza where civilians have been told to go. An UNRWA school in Khan Younis (South Gaza) was targeted this morning. Those in North Gaza have been warned that they will be treated as terrorists and killed. pic.twitter.com/tOXpYSlGaW
— Mira Hammad (@MiraHammad10) October 22, 2023
Graphic footage posted to social media showed wounded toddlers being transported for emergency healthcare after an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis:
BREAKING! An Israeli airstrike bombed a site in the vicinity of a UNRWA school this morning in Khan Younis, Southern #Gaza, which is a shelter for hundreds of displaced Palestinian families.
🚨 Children and little babies are the main victims of Israeli warplanes…… pic.twitter.com/pIqGuNZi8s
— DOAM (@doamuslims) October 22, 2023
In an update on Saturday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the number of those killed by Israeli airstrikes, citing Gaza Ministry of Health figures, had surpassed 4,300. Of those killed, said OCHA, 62% were children and women.
The ministry itself later on Saturday put out numbers that said 4,651 people have been killed, including 1,873 children.
The numbers are staggering, yet they do not begin to convey the full scale and horror of Israel’s assault on Gaza pic.twitter.com/84iUvGI0oL
— Sharif Kouddous شريف عبد القدوس (@sharifkouddous) October 22, 2023
In a video posted overnight from Khan Younis in southern Gaza, Rawya Halas, director of the Gaza Training College and head of the UNWRA shelter there, said the situation was “catastrophic, catastrophic, catastrophic.”
"The situation is catastrophic, catastrophic, catastrophic" 🆘
Rawya describes the horrific situation for people in #Gaza
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) October 22, 2023
“The situation we are in now is unprecedented and cannot be described with words. No words in the world can describe the situation we are in,” Rawya added. “I beg you, save Gaza. It’s dying, it’s dying, it’s dying. There are children, elderly and adults for whom I cannot provide. I am the UNRWA. I am the head of this shelter, and I can’t offer them anything. Neither food nor water. There is nothing, nothing.”
The OCHA estimates 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza are now displaced and that 42% of the housing units in the territory have been damaged or totally destroyed by the IDF bombing campaign.
The Israeli military on Oct. 13 ordered all civilians in the north of the besieged Gaza Strip to evacuate towards the south ahead of an increased bombing campaign and a potential ground invasion by Israeli Defense Forces troops amassed on the border.
But even as critics noted at the time the order would be impossible to comply with for many and should be seen as the prelude to “mass atrocities,” many Palestinians fled toward the south to seek refuge from the unrelenting assault and humanitarian crisis.
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