350 Killed on Thursday in Israeli Bombardment of Gaza

12:00 Dec 7 2023 Gaza (غزة) and Israel (מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל‎ * دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل‎ )

350 Killed on Thursday in Israeli Bombardment of Gaza
Scene. Published by IMEMC News

by IMEMC News
Dec 8, 2023

The Palestinian Ministry of Health on Thursday confirmed the deaths of over 350 Palestinians in the past 24 hours, and over 1900 injured. Five Israeli soldiers were confirmed killed during the same time period, while invading the Gaza Strip in the ground invasion.

These latest casualties bring the total number of Palestinians killed to 16,456, with about 45,250 wounded, the majority of whom were children, the elderly, and women since October 7th. Israeli authorities estimate that 1200 Israelis were killed on October 7th, over 900 of whom were civilians. 954 names of Israelis killed October 7th have been published, 600 of which are civilians.

Of the Palestinians killed since October 7th, 16,200 were killed in the Gaza Strip, and more than 42,000 were wounded, while the number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank rose to 265 martyrs and 3,250 wounded, while thousands are still missing in Gaza.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (UN OCHA) between 14:00 of 6 December and 14:00 of 7 December, at least 350 Palestinians were killed and 1,900 injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, and five Israeli soldiers were killed, according to Israeli sources. Heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea across Gaza continued, with focus on the Middle Area. Simultaneously, ground operations and fighting significantly intensified and the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups to Israel continued.

On 7 December, Israeli military forces detained between dozens to hundreds of Palestinian men and boys from the age of 15 in a school in Beit Lahia, in the north, where they were sheltering, according to media sources. The detainees were stripped, tied, and transferred to an unknown location. Israeli official sources indicated that the possible affiliation of the detainees with Hamas is being investigated.

On 7 December as of 22:00, 69 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies and 61,000 litres of fuel entered from Egypt into Gaza. This is well below the daily average of 170 trucks and 110,000 litres of fuel that had entered during the humanitarian pause implemented between 24 and 30 November, and the average of 500 truckloads (including fuel) that entered every working day prior to 7 October. On 7 December, 121 sick people and 491 foreign or dual nationals were evacuated from Gaza to Egypt.

The ability of the UN to receive incoming loads of aid has been significantly impaired over the past few days by several factors. These include a shortage of trucks within Gaza, with some being stranded in the Middle Area, which has been severed from the south; telecommunications blackouts; and the increasing number of staff who were unable to report to the Rafah crossing due to the hostilities.

On 7 December, the Under-General Secretary stated in a press briefing: “We do not have a humanitarian operation in southern Gaza that can be called by that name anymore. That the pace of the military assault in southern Gaza is a repeat of the assault in northern Gaza. That it has made no place safe for civilians in southern Gaza, which had been a cornerstone of the humanitarian plan to protect civilians and thus to provide aid to them. But without places of safety, that plan is in tatters.”

On 7 December, Rafah was the main governorate in Gaza where limited aid distributions took place. In the adjacent Khan Younis governorate, except for delivery of medical supplies to two hospitals, aid distribution largely stopped due to the intensity of hostilities. The Middle Area was largely disconnected from the south, following Israeli forces’ restrictions of movement along the main roads. Access from the south to areas north of Wadi Gaza (hereafter: the north) came to a halt on 1 December, with the resumption of hostilities.

On 7 December, WHO delivered trauma and emergency care supplies to the European Gaza Hospital and Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, to cover the needs of 4,500 patients. This was the first delivery mission since 29 November, despite active hostilities in the area.

Influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to Rafah continued on 7 December. Since 3 December, tens of thousands of IDPs have arrived, the majority from across the Khan Younis governorate. Humanitarian actors in Gaza are reporting extreme overcrowded conditions and lack of basic resources in Rafah, where there is no empty space left for people to shelter, not even in the streets and other open areas. Thousands of people wait for hours in large crowds around aid distribution centres as people are in desperate need of food, water, shelter, health, and protection. There are concerns of a breakdown in law and order under these conditions.

On 7 December, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) announced that the operations at their ambulance centre in the north of Gaza has come to a halt. The depletion of fuel for vehicles and closure of hospitals operating in the northern region made it impossible to evacuate wounded people. However, ambulance teams were still handling minor and moderate cases in Jabalia, treating about 250 injured individuals daily.

On 7 December, an additional area across Jabalia, Zeitoun, Gaza old city and Sheja’eyya, encompassing about 30 square kilometers was designated by the Israeli military for immediate evacuation to shelters in the west. This area was home to about 500,000 residents and an estimated 200,000 IDPs who took shelter in 70 designated emergency shelters in October 2023.

Under international humanitarian law, parties to a conflict must take all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimize, civilian harm. This can entail evacuating civilians or giving effective advance warning of attacks, which provides civilians enough time to leave, as well as a safe route and place to go. All possible measures must be adopted to ensure that those civilians displaced can afford satisfactory conditions of safety, shelter, nutrition, and hygiene and ensure that family members are not separated. Civilians choosing to stay in areas designated for evacuation do not lose their protection.

In a letter to the Security Council invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his call for a humanitarian ceasefire and stated: “We are facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system. The situation is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region. Such an outcome must be avoided at all cost.” Based on this, a special Security Council session will be held in the coming days.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)
The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 6 December, involving the striking of residential buildings:
On 6 December, at about 18:00, a residential building was struck in central Rafah, killing 18 Palestinians, including children.
On 6 December, at about 21:00, a residential building sheltering IDPs, in Barkat Al-Waz area, west of Al-Maghazi camp, Middle Gaza was struck, killing 18 Palestinians, mostly children, and injuring 20 others.

According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 7 December afternoon, at least 17,177 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, about 70 per cent of whom are said to be women and children, and 46,000 are reportedly injured. Many more are missing, presumably under the rubble, waiting rescue or recovery.
On 5 December, the UN Human Rights Office stated that “the pattern of attacks that target or impact on civilian infrastructure raises serious concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law and significantly raises the risk of atrocity crimes.”

Overall, 93 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israeli ground operations, according to official Israeli sources.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)
On 1 December, the Israeli military issued a detailed online map, where the Gaza Strip is divided into hundreds of small areas.
Reportedly, the map is intended to facilitate orders to evacuate people to specific areas ahead of their targeting. Since then, various areas, encompassing nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip, have been marked for evacuation. The ability of residents to access this information is impaired by the recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity to charge electronic devices.

As of 5 December, according to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, were estimated to be internally displaced. Nearly 1.2 million of these IDPs were registered in 156 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, of whom about one million are registered in 98 UNRWA shelters in the south (prior to the above mentioned evacuation). Obtaining an accurate count is challenging, especially given difficulties in tracking IDPs staying with host families, movement of IDPs following evacuation orders since 1 December, evictions from five UNRWA shelters on 6 December, and access restrictions.

Due to the overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions at UNRWA shelters in the south, there have been significant increases in some communicable diseases and conditions such as diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, skin infections and hygiene-related conditions like lice. There are also initial reports of disease outbreaks.

Concerns have been raised about vulnerable groups of people who are struggling with difficult shelter conditions. This includes people with disabilities; women who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are breastfeeding; people who are recovering from injuries or surgeries; and those with compromised immune systems.

Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant depleted. Depending on the availability of fuel, electricity is produced by generators, as well as by solar panels. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)
Currently, only 14 out of 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are functional and able to admit new patients, and even in these facilities services are limited. Only two of these hospitals are in the north. The two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating three times above their bed capacity, facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel.
According to MoH in Gaza, the occupancy rates reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. Additionally, these hospitals are providing shelter to thousands of IDPs.

On 7 December, Al Awda hospital in Jabalia, one of the two still operational in the north, was surrounded by Israeli forces and sustained damage due to Israeli shelling. Israeli sniper fire into the hospital has also been reported.

As of 7 December, WHO has documented 212 attacks on health care in the Gaza Strip affecting 56 health care facilities (including 24 hospitals damaged) and 59 ambulances.
Food security

During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), WFP conducted a rapid food security assessment across the Strip involving a sample of 399 households. Severe hunger was found in 36 per cent of respondent households and moderate hunger in another 52 per cent. In 91 per cent of households, respondents reported going to bed hungry, and 63 per cent reported enduring entire days without food. The situation is significantly worse in the north. The acute shortage of cooking gas has led to heavy dependence on less clean sources such as firewood, wood residues, and waste burning, raising the risk of respiratory diseases.

Water and sanitation (Gaza Strip)
On 7 December, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) partners highlighted that due to overcrowded conditions, lack of toilets and sanitation services in shelters in Rafah have forced people to implement open air defecation, increasing concerns of disease spreading.

Grave concerns about waterborne diseases due to water consumption from unsafe sources persist, particularly in the north where the water desalination plant and the pipeline from Israel was shut down. There has been almost no improvement for residents in the north in their access to water for drinking and domestic purposes for weeks.

UNRWA continues to operate nine water wells pumping about 10,000 cubic metres a day to provide potable and domestic water supply in shelters across Gaza. Potable water trucking operations to the shelters in Rafah and Khan Younis areas continue despite the dangerous conditions. Additionally, shelters in Rafah started receiving potable water through tankers from the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)
The rocket fire by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza towards Israel continued on 7 December; no fatalities were reported. Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.

During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. It is estimated that about 138 people remain captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals, according to Israeli sources. Before the pause, four civilian hostages had been released by Hamas, one Israeli soldier had been rescued by Israeli forces, and three bodies of hostages had reportedly been retrieved by Israeli forces.
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