from Awni Farhat: Palestinians in Northern Gaza evacuate home under threat of “Israeli” bombing, take shelter in schools
“Last night was horrific, they kept shelling nearby houses for the whole night. As soon as we saw the white line of dawn, we went directly to the Al Fakhoora school”, a woman from Beit Lahia said.
Thousands of Palestinians from the north of Gaza have evacuated their homes and fled to UNRWA schools and to the centre Jablaia refugee camp and Gaza city after warning calls from the IOF.
The death toll from the airstrikes on Gaza this week has risen to 176 Palestinians killed, including more than 25 children and 20 women, with more than 1100 injured.
The IOF has launched 2,480 air strikes, since the beginning of their most recent aggression against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip, Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said.
Thousands of Palestinians fled the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday and sought refuge in UNRWA facilities after Israeli forces instructed them to leave their homes.
Israeli forces dropped leaflets warning residents to leave their homes before midday on Sunday “for their own safety.”
Residents said they also received phone calls from Israel’s military instructing them to evacuate their homes and several tank shells were fired to scare residents, witnesses said.
During the night, Samari al-Atar, who lives in the Atatra neighborhood — one of the areas Israel said it would hit hard — fled to an UNRWA school in Gaza City.
“It was the middle of the night, and I gathered the children, they were so afraid,” said Samari al-Atar, breaking down in tears as she described how her family had left everything and fled barefoot with shooting all around.
“Last night there was so much shelling that no one could sleep, it was terrifying,” said one man, who gave his name only as Farid.
He was fleeing with six family members, riding alongside them on a motorbike piled high with blankets.
“I’m going to try to go to a school, anywhere that is safe,” he told AFP.
Mohammed Sultan packed his family’s belongings onto a horse-drawn cart, with five children sitting among the hastily assembled items.
He walked alongside the cart, with other adult relatives, heading for a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees.
Inside the school compound, the displaced children draw on a blackboard, sketching images of war in pink and yellow chalk — Israeli helicopters and tanks firing, and Palestinian rockets.
One boy seemed almost catatonic as he spoke in a long, monotone about fleeing his home, his eyes downcast and fixed on the floor.
Maani al-Ataar described the terror of fleeing by night, as Israeli planes circled overhead.
“People were screaming and there were old men who couldn’t walk properly, the younger men had to support them,” she said.
“There was no electricity, so the road was pitch black.”
Robert Turner, director of UNRWA operations said thousands of displaced people were already sheltering in its schools across Gaza.
“UNRWA now has eight schools sheltering about 4,000 displaced Gazans,” he told reporters.
“More are arriving by the minute. They are mostly fleeing areas in the north,” he said. A spokesman said UNRWA facilities had the capacity to shelter some 35,000 people.
Anadolu Agency: Israel uses banned weapons in striking Gaza
“Gaza hospitals burst at the seams of martyrs and wounded,” health undersecretary Youssef Abul Resh told a press conference in Gaza City late Saturday.
He accused Israel of using banned weapons in striking the Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million Palestinians.
“Medical teams have found wounds on the bodies of those killed and injured that are caused by the banned DIME weapons,” the Palestinian official said.
“Foreign doctors in Gaza have confirmed that Israeli missiles and shells are destructive and internationally banned,” he added.
Abul Resh cited that about 40 percent of those killed in ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strips were women and children.
“Children and women make up around 62 percent of those injured in the attacks,” he said, going on to appeal to human rights organizations and the international community “to pile pressures on Israel to halt is aggression on the Gaza Strip”.
At least 166 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured since Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip on Monday with the stated aim of ending rocket fire from the strip.
“The health system in Gaza is very fragile. It was already fragile before the beginning of the war. With the increase in patients in the hospitals, the situation can very quickly become catastrophic,” she said.
She described an influx of the most severe cases including explosive injuries as the biggest problem facing doctors in the region. At Al-Shifa hospital, she said, the majority of patients are surgical cases from such explosive injuries with “mainly brain injuries or everything related to bones, fractures, displaced fracture, open fractures”.
“What we are really looking for is a way to continue to treat our patients,” she said. “This is the main concern for us to have humanitarian access and to be able to treat our patients. Hopefully in the coming days, we will be able to secure enough access to be able to reach our patients without risking the lives of our team.”
Oxfam said it had to suspend efforts to chlorinate water supplies in Gaza because of the violence. Oxfam’s local director, Nishant Pandey, estimated that 90 per cent of drinking water in Gaza is unsafe to drink; taps for 100,000 people have been cut off because a pipeline and wells have been destroyed. “Water pumps and sewage plants could stop functioning within days because of severe shortages of fuel,” Mr Pandey warned. And according to Oxfam, hospitals in Gaza could run out of fuel to power generators within days.
A health centre in Beit Hanoun that specialises in prenatal and antenatal care was badly damaged and is now unable to operate. “We are supporting other clinics that are continuing to try to provide services, Mr Pandey said. “But many are in areas that have seen heavy air strikes, and local people are scared to try to reach them.”
Sayyidah Salam from Gaza writes:
“From the besieged bleeding GAZA .. Thank you guys for all you’ve done and still doing for the sake of our slaughtered children, you are the last breath of humanity on this planet to us, GOD almighty bless you all
please share this message from gaza.”