Israel’s excitement over the hostage rescue may have been fleeting

The Israeli operation to rescue four hostages in the central Gaza town of Nuseirat on Saturday sparked intense aerial bombardment and ground operations that killed more than 100 people, according to two hospital officials in the area. 200 people died.

People there said it was the fiercest attack they could recall in the eight-month war. A hospital official said Israel attacked a crowded market and video recorded shortly after the attack showed bloodied bodies on the ground in what appeared to be an attacked market.

Other video shows people running for cover as a powerful air strike explodes near them.

Dr. Khalil Daqran, spokesman for Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah, and Marwan Abu Nasser, acting administrative director of Al-Awda hospital in Nuseirat, said their two hospitals received a total of more than 200 deaths. and many people were injured in Saturday’s attack. Many of those killed were women and children, hospital officials said.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari estimated the number of casualties at less than 100, without specifying whether they were dead, wounded or both.

The New York Times could not independently verify the death toll and it was unclear how many were civilians and how many were Hamas fighters.

According to Dr. Daqran, a few hours later, some of the dead were buried by their families while others remained unconfirmed.

“The unidentified martyrs are still in the morgue. It is very difficult to identify them,” he said. “It is difficult to determine their identities because some of the martyrs who came here were just torn limbs from children, women and the elderly.”

Tens of thousands of Palestinian residents of Gaza have fled to Nuseirat in recent weeks to escape Israeli bombardment of other parts of the besieged territory such as the southern city of Rafah, where Israel launched a new attack recently.

Khaled al-Saadouni, a young man who witnessed the Israeli operation in Nuseirat, told Reuters that he saw Israeli special forces arriving in an Apache attack helicopter and that he also saw an umbrella. painted white carrying Israeli forces.

According to Reuters, Mr. Apache started throwing bombs and shooting directly at people, he said, adding that many people were dead and injured. “Everybody ran away,” he said.

He said there are many displaced Palestinians taking refuge in the area under attack.

“We put 10 injured people in an ambulance. One of them was shot directly. We could barely get through the alleys,” he said.

Khitam Awad, a 35-year-old teacher, said she was at home teaching 25 young students and handing out gifts when the Israeli attack began nearby.

“We were close to the strike,” she told The New York Times. “We don’t know how we were able to escape unharmed.”

The strikes went on for two “crazy” hours and they were unable to leave their homes, she added. One of her colleagues, another teacher, later discovered that two of her relatives had been murdered. They gathered in a room with students while around them, she said, homes were being attacked.

“We heard the sound of tanks,” Ms. Awad said. “Our nerves were on edge, we didn’t know what was happening around us, bombs, missiles and tanks.”

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, at Al Aqsa hospital, the injured and the bodies of the dead filled the hospital rooms and corridors.

“The situation is dire,” Dr. Daqran said. “We don’t have enough beds for all the injured. We have five times more injured people than we have hospital beds.”

As a result, many dead and injured had to be transferred to another nearby hospital, Al Awda in Nuseirat.

“Al Awda Hospital is a maternity hospital but it has been converted to receive injured people for whom we do not have space at Al Aqsa hospital,” he said.

Mr. Abu Nasser, acting administrative director of Al-Awda hospital, said the medical facility’s capacity to hold bodies was limited and that by the end of the day, about 100 bodies brought to the hospital were taken by their families. about burial. members.

“We are a small hospital,” he said. “We simply don’t have enough space.”

During a press conference outside Al Aqsa hospital, Dr. Daqran called on Palestinians in Gaza to donate blood and the international community to help Gaza’s hospitals.

The influx of victims to hospitals comes at a time when the few hospitals still operating in Gaza are struggling to continue operating due to ongoing Israeli strikes and shortages of medicine and medical equipment. as well as the generator being overloaded.

Songal Shbair Report contributions.


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