Palestinian rescuers at the site of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza overnight moved away rubble on Wednesday to gradually reveal a still head and arm, the latest victim of a bombardment that has killed thousands of people.
As rescuers removed more debris, the rest of the body slowly emerged, a member of the Nasr family, whose home in the southern city of Khan Younis was hit by shelling in the early hours of Wednesday, killing nine people, according to the residents.
“Our neighbors have died. Everywhere you look there is a martyr,” said Eyad al-Ateyle, a neighbor who said the attack woke him up at 2 a.m. local time, before he could leave his house with his wife. and her son in a thick fog of dust.
Israel’s escalating assault has killed some 8,800 Palestinians, according to health authorities in the Hamas-controlled enclave, mainly in air and artillery strikes like the one that hit the Nasr family home.
The military has said that although it has instructed civilians to move south, it will attack any Hamas target across the strip, taking appropriate precautions to reduce damage.
The offensive, in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas militants that Israel says killed 1,400 people and kidnapped 240, now includes a ground invasion that is expected to intensify the violence.
More than half of Gaza’s population is already displaced, hospitals are overcrowded, without electricity and medicine, they are turning away the wounded and gravediggers are running out of places in cemeteries.
On Tuesday, an Israeli attack on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza killed dozens of people, according to hospital authorities, leaving a lunar landscape of craters. Israel said the attack targeted a senior Hamas commander.
At the Khan Younis morgue, where the bodies of the Nasr family, killed in another part of the city, were taken, a group of men and boys watched as more dead arrived by ambulance.
The bodies were placed on stretchers and taken to the morgue. A boy stood silently looking through the bars. Angry family members of some of the dead shouted: “With our souls and our blood, we redeem you, martyrs.”
Inside, workers cleaned the dust and blood of the dead and wrapped them in white shrouds to be taken for burial. Of the 15 bodies in the morgue when Reuters was there on Wednesday morning, four were children.
“Every day there are deaths and every day there are children or women among them,” said a doctor there, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.
Israel has blocked the supply of electricity, water and fuel to Gaza, and only a small amount of food and medicine is entering through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
In the absence of fuel, many people are resorting to donkey carts to get around. In Khan Younis, Farida Abu Azzam was taking her husband to the hospital for cancer treatment. “That’s our only form of transportation right now,” she said.
Along the road, cars and taxis accumulated dust.
Many of the injured cannot even find a place in hospitals. Those who are lucky and find a bed need to leave before being cured.
The director of the Turkish Friendship Hospital in northern Gaza, which mainly treats cancer patients, said on Wednesday that the hospital had stopped operating due to a lack of fuel. Israel says there is enough fuel in Gaza to supply hospitals, but that Hamas is using it for military purposes.
At a shelter for displaced people at a UN school in Khan Younis, Salwa Najar stood at her son Majed’s bedside, wiping his face.
He can only move his head after being injured by Israeli shelling when he went with his brother to tend the family’s small flock of sheep, she said. Majed’s brother was killed.
A cousin took them to Hilal Hospital in Khan Younis, the largest city in the southern part of the small enclave. But they were told there were no vacancies.
“Where should people go?” Najar asked, his face swollen from crying.
The school classroom where Majed was lying was turned into a makeshift infirmary for the injured, with other injured people lying on beds around the walls – but without proper medical help.
At Nasser Hospital, director Nahed Abu Taeema said they were even turning away people who were in dire need of medical intervention. “Gaza’s hospitals are full of injured people who are filling beds,” she said.
“Those who need advanced surgery cannot be helped here.”
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