(CTN News) – According to Israeli media reports on Monday, an Israeli soldier has died and at least 10 others have been in Gaza hospitalized due to dangerous fungi found in the soil of the Gaza Strip.
The soldier, who was involved in the ground assault on Gaza, battled with an infection for several days before succumbing to “serious injuries” caused by various fungal infections.
Additionally, ten other soldiers have been diagnosed with fungal infections resulting from their offensive in Gaza. Professor Gila Rahav, the head of the Infectious Disease Unit and Laboratories at the Sheba Medical Center, stated during a radio interview on Tuesday that the fungi were present in the local soil and had not been observed during previous conflicts in the Palestinian enclave.
Rahav also mentioned the possibility of soil pollution from sewage water as the source of these contaminated fungi and investigations are currently underway to determine if they originated from underground tunnels.
The Israeli Society for Infectious Diseases is scheduled to convene an urgent meeting next week with epidemiological experts from the Israeli forces and the Health Ministry to address the issue of diseases affecting troops during ground operations in Gaza.
At the onset of Israel’s relentless and indiscriminate military campaign against Gaza, various international health and environmental agencies had issued warnings about an impending health crisis and environmental catastrophe due to the collapse of the Palestinian territory’s sewage treatment systems.
On 4 December, the Municipality cautioned about the possibility of sewage flooding in the northern part of Gaza City, as its pumping stations had run out of fuel due to Israel’s complete blockade on the Strip. This blockade had halted the entry of fuel, medicine, water, and food.
Hassani Mahna, the spokesperson for the Municipality, expressed concerns about the potential spread of diseases if the streets were inundated with sewage water. He emphasized that this would further worsen the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.