At least five killed in Israeli attacks as Gaza hospitals appeal for help

Hospitals in Gaza hampered by months of Israeli attacks and blockade struggle to treat patients as death toll mounts.

A woman and child walk among debris, aftermath of Israeli strikes
Israel has launched a large assault across the central Gaza Strip [Abed Khaled/Reuters]

Israeli attacks in southern Gaza have killed at least five Palestinians and injured dozens, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reports.

Monday’s attacks on Rafah and Khan Younis have wounded at least 30 people, Wafa said.

The casualties have been brought to the Nasser Medical Complex, but electricity shutdowns there could make it difficult for the injured to receive treatment, according to the report.

Palestinian officials said 40 bodies arrived at hospitals over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of people killed in Gaza since October 7 to 37,124 with more than 84,700 injured. Thousands more dead are believed to be buried under rubble in the devastated enclave.

In Rafah, the city on the southern edge of Gaza where Israel launched a ground offensive last month, residents said on Monday that tanks had been thrusting deeper towards the north in the early hours of the morning. They were on the edge of Shaboura, one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the heart of the city.

Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, claimed an attack on Israeli forces there, saying its fighters “killed and wounded” soldiers.

In a statement on Telegram, the Qassam Brigades said its fighters detonated explosives in a booby-trapped house while Israeli forces were inside.

“Immediately upon the arrival of the rescue force, our [fighters] destroyed the vicinity of the house that was blown up with mortar shells,” it added.

About half of the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people had been sheltering in Rafah before last month’s assault. A million people have since fled the area, according to the United Nations.

Israel last week launched a large assault in central Gaza around the small city of Deir el-Balah, the last population centre yet to be stormed. On Monday, residents said the Israelis had pulled back from some areas there but were keeping up air strikes and shelling.

Residents in the Nuseirat refugee camp north of Deir el-Balah were still clearing debris after Israel freed four captives in a large raid there on Saturday. Palestinian officials said 274 people were killed during the raid, making it one of the deadliest attacks of the ongoing assault.

In video obtained by the Reuters news agency from Nuseirat, resident Anas Alyan, standing outside the ruins of his home, described how Israeli soldiers wearing shorts had appeared in the streets, firing wildly while F-16s and quadcopters fired from the air.

“Anyone moving in the street was killed. Anyone moving or walking was killed immediately,” he said.

“There are still children under this building. We don’t know how to pull them out,” he said, pointing to one ruin. “Today, we found children martyred in that building,” he said, pointing to another.

Hospitals in Gaza, which have been crippled by months of Israeli attacks and a blockade, have appealed for help as they struggle to treat patients.

Al Jazeera’s Hind Khoudary, reporting from Deir el-Balah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, said an extra emergency department has been opened to deal with the enormous influx of injured patients after Saturday’s raid.

The hospital, running on just one generator, remains flooded with sick and injured patients and is performing surgeries on an “hourly basis”, she said.

‘Indescribable’ destruction

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said more than half of the buildings in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed by Israeli attacks since the start of the war on October 7.

“The destruction in Gaza is indescribable,” it said on X, citing data from the UN Satellite Center.

“Clearing the rubble will take years. Healing from the psychological trauma of this war will take even longer,” UNRWA added while calling for a ceasefire.

“This suffering must come to an end,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said Israel continues to keep Gaza’s vital Rafah border crossing with Egypt closed “amid imminent acute levels of famine across the Gaza Strip”.

“This enforcement of collective punishment on the Palestinian population in Gaza not only further exacerbates the humanitarian situation in the Strip, but also comes as a direct violation of the International Court of Justice’s May Order on Provisional Measures and international humanitarian law,” the medical charity said on X.

Khoudary said the flow of aid into Gaza has remained scarce and many people are now eating “only one meal per day”.

“This is not only in the south but also in the north” of Gaza, Khoudary said, adding that markets are largely empty and what food is available is difficult to afford for most people.

The UN’s World Food Programme said on Monday that it has paused deliveries of Gaza aid through a US-built pier due to safety concerns.

Gaza’s Government Media Office said in a statement that Palestinians in Gaza have not “benefited” from the floating pier. It said the pier has not helped alleviate the suffering of families or improved the dire humanitarian situation there.

Since its installation about a month and a half ago, the media office said, only a “very limited number” of 120 trucks of aid came through.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies