(CTN NEWS) – Continuing Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have resulted in the destruction of a significant portion of a neighborhood.
Officials from the Hamas-run health ministry report that the overall death toll has now surpassed 4,300 people, with more than half of the casualties being women and children.
The crisis has led to the displacement of approximately 1.4 million Gazans, with over half a million individuals seeking refuge in 147 UN shelters, according to the United Nations.
Aid trucks finally entered Gaza on Saturday, although Israel’s military specified that the aid was intended for the southern part of Gaza.
Meanwhile, Israel has issued evacuation orders to all residents in the northern Gaza Strip, instructing them to move to the central area south of Wadi Gaza.
However, Israeli airstrikes have persisted in southern Gaza, and some residents have chosen to remain in their homes, citing concerns that nowhere is safe.
The ongoing conflict began when Israel cut off supplies of fuel, electricity, and water to Gaza after Hamas’s military wing breached the border into Israel, resulting in more than 1,400 casualties and the taking of over 200 hostages into Gaza.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported “intensive bombardments” in Gaza, along with Palestinian armed groups’ “indiscriminate rocket firing towards Israeli population centers.”
UN officials have described the situation in Gaza as catastrophic, while Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari has stated that humanitarian conditions in Gaza are “under control.”
Most Of Al-Zahra Neighbourhood Destroyed
The most recent Israeli airstrikes have caused extensive damage to the al-Zahraa neighborhood in central Gaza.
More than two dozen blocks of flats were completely leveled overnight into Friday.
Disturbing images and videos circulated on social media, depicting billowing smoke clouds above the neighborhood and rows of flattened buildings amid rubble-strewn streets.
Residents, caught off guard by the attack, revealed that the area had been relatively peaceful before the sudden bombing.
They described how they were instructed to evacuate on Thursday evening, around 20:30 to 21:00 local time (17:30-18:00 GMT).
Fleeing for safety, they recounted how Israel launched relentless airstrikes on the area from 9 pm to 7 am the following morning, turning it into a war zone.
The devastating bombings have rendered thousands of people homeless, with one resident lamenting that some individuals were trapped under the debris of their homes.
He expressed the dire situation, noting that ambulances could not reach the area, and the agonizing cries for help could be heard, but there were no means to rescue those trapped.
Hospital Told To Evacuate
In northern Gaza, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported that Israeli forces issued an evacuation order for the Al-Quds hospital.
The hospital is currently providing care for more than 400 patients and sheltering 12,000 displaced civilians, according to the Red Crescent’s information.
The humanitarian organization urgently appealed to the international community for action to address this dire situation.
Physicians for Human Rights Israel, a group of doctors, filed a petition with Israel’s Supreme Court to emphasize that the evacuation of Al-Quds hospital should not be carried out.
In response, the state declared that it would refrain from attacking the hospital at this time, emphasizing the importance of avoiding harm to civilians during the conflict, complying with international law, and preserving medical services.
Meanwhile, the NGO Save the Children issued a warning that the lives of approximately one million children in Gaza are precariously balanced.
The aid agency called for the immediate medical evacuation of critically ill and injured children from the enclave.
It also raised concerns about the increased likelihood of child deaths due to severe shortages of medical supplies and power outages.
Deaths After Air Strikes Near Gaza Church
The compound of a church in Gaza was damaged by an Israeli airstrike on Thursday during an operation against Hamas.
The attack led to the partial collapse of a building near the Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza City.
Hamas officials reported 16 casualties as a result of the strike, while Israel acknowledged reports of casualties.
U.S. Congressman Justin Amash shared that several of his relatives who had taken refuge in the church compound lost their lives due to the Israeli airstrike.
He expressed deep concern for the Palestinian Christian community, which has endured significant hardship.
The Israeli Defense Forces clarified that the Saint Porphyrius Church was not the intended target of their airstrike.
Their statement indicated that their fighter jets had struck a nearby Hamas command and control center, which was involved in rocket attacks.
While this attack caused damage to the church compound, the church itself was not the primary focus of the airstrike.
Photographic evidence, released on Friday, suggests that the primary damage occurred in an adjacent building within the compound.
The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem expressed strong condemnation of the Israeli airstrike on its church compound.
The Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza, which dates back to the 12th century, holds the distinction of being the oldest church still in use in the region.
Gaza’s Christian community, mainly Greek Orthodox, considers it a significant place of worship.
Hamas reported that approximately 500 people were seeking shelter at the site, although this figure remains unverified.
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