Blinken pushes for ceasefire and release of hostages: Live updates on the Israel-Gaza war

A day after Israeli troops rescued four hostages held by Hamas militants in Nuseirat, Gazans described intense shelling during the raid, followed by chaos in the streets after an operation. leaving dozens of Palestinians dead and injured.

Bayan Abu Amr, 32, was holding his 18-month-old son Mohammad on the edge of Nuseirat’s main market on Saturday when he was surrounded by fierce air strikes, which the Israeli military said targeted warriors in an effort to ensure security. Safely rescue hostages and special forces.

“People are coming like the day of judgment; I don’t know where to run,” said Mrs. Abu Amr, who was on her way to call to condolences to her uncle’s family after his two sons passed away. “Children screamed, women fell while running.”

She recalls how, along with other Gazans, she climbed aboard a passing pickup truck that was trying to get people out safely amid the strikes. She said a little girl was separated from her mother during the chaos, while an old man lost his grip and fell out of the truck to the ground.

Mrs. Abu Amr finally returned home with her son a few hours later, shocked that he was still alive. “I won’t take my son out of the house anymore,” she said.

According to Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israeli military spokesman, to rescue the hostages, the Israeli army entered two residential buildings where they were being held. Admiral Hagari said there were families living in the apartments, as well as armed Hamas fighters guarding the hostages, making it “impossible to reach them without harming civilians in Gaza.” ”.

The exact death toll remains unclear as health officials seek to compile statistics amid chaos at hospitals. Gazan health officials reported that more than 200 people were killed in the raid; The Israeli military said it knew of fewer than 100 casualties, without specifying whether they were dead, wounded or both. Neither side provided details about combatants versus civilians.

On Sunday, the hallways and corridors of the last major medical center in central Gaza, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, remained “crowded” with new patients, after more than 100 deaths occurred. could be taken there on Saturday, said Khalil Daqran, a hospital official. He added that most of the bodies have been buried or reclaimed by relatives.

Abdelkarim al-Harazin, 28, a doctor who works there, said medical facilities – already packed before the Israeli rescue mission in nearby Nuseirat – were overwhelmed.

“The bombing had an unimaginable intensity,” Dr. al-Harazin said. “The entire hospital became one giant emergency room, even as people came looking for their dead loved ones.”

As Al-Aqsa became overwhelmed, many wounded were taken to a nearby field hospital run by the International Medical Corps, according to Javed Ali, an official with the aid group.

Diana Abu Shaban, 28, first heard the gunshots as she was about to dry clothes near the tent where she was sheltering in Nuseirat. As the attack escalated, she told her daughters to hide before realizing that the flimsy tent could not protect them. Taking her children with her, she rushed to the nearby Al-Awda medical center in a desperate search for safety.

She said her husband, Saeed, had left early that morning to go to the market, where Palestinians said the strikes were especially violent.

“I heard a lot of rockets,” Ms. Abu Shaban said. “I thought my husband would be killed or injured.”

After two hours, she said, the bombing subsided and she and her children left the hospital. They later discovered her husband had survived by hiding in a nearby store.

Abd Al-Rahman Basem al-Masri, 25, who lives on the northern edge of Deir al-Balah, said Saturday was the worst day he had seen since the start of the war.

Mr. al-Masri said he, his mother and his younger brother had driven back from his uncle’s house and were heading toward their home when an airstrike hit the neighboring property.

In a video shot by a friend who was also in the car, a growing cloud of smoke can be seen behind the building. “At that moment, I lost hope that we could continue to live here,” Mr. al-Masri said.

Another Gazan living in Nuseirat, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, said he and more than 10 family members hid inside for hours as intense airstrikes rocked the neighborhood. near. He said he had no idea hostages were being held in the area.

After the bombing subsided, he went out to the devastated market, where he said he saw the street covered in blood and bodies. The people of Gaza, he said, curse not only Israel but also Hamas, blaming them for bringing this disaster upon them.

He said neither Israel nor Hamas were interested in destruction as they sought to attack each other. Everyone is a victim, he added.


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