The Israeli occupation military continues to subject nearly two millions people residing in Gaza – primarily refugees, women, children and old people – to unprecedented bombardments. Since early hours today, Israeli fighter aircraft (F-16s) and armed drones have been bombing residential homes across the Gaza Strip. It is now reported that the Israeli military has stopped warning civilian residents before destroying their homes, their only source of shelter and security.
Over 106 resident homes have been targeted within last 72 hours in Gaza. Israeli armed drones drop so-called “warning rockets” over homes, and ten minutes later a F-16 fighter jet completes the mission by destroying the home entirely. The Gaza Strip is densely populated area in which 1.5 million people reside within 140 square miles. Causalities are thus immediately reported when a rocket hits a civilian home. Invariably, the destruction is not limited to the houses targeted but also extends to neighboring houses. So-called warning rockets fired from the armed drones are weapons that often kill and maim civilians.
According to medical resources in Gaza, the death toll has increased to 86 Palestinians in the besieged strip since Israeli began its assault early Tuesday. 22 children and 13 women have been killed, with 85 women injured. The overall number of injuries has reached 580, the majority of whom are children and women. The youngest victim is 18-month-old Mohammed Malakiyeh, who was killed along with his 27-year-old mother. The oldest victim, 80-year-old Naifeh Farjallah, was killed in an air strike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City.
The current offensive on Gaza has badly affected the mental health of young Palestinians. The loud explosions resulting from Israeli fighter jets has created great panic, anxiety and stress among young children, who have not yet recovered from the trauma and stress resulted from previous waves of Israeli bombardments. My friend Mar’i Bashir is a father of Ghadi, 2-year-old boy, residing in Middle area of Gaza Strip. Mar’i described the complex trauma of his young son that resulted from regular Israeli warplanes bombs dropping on nearby sites which has basically been on-going until the present time. Ghandi can hardly talk due to his young age – once bombs fall on their neighborhood, Ghadi spontaneously utters the words “Baba, Ofaa Tayara” which means “Baba, fire, airplane!” Mar’i explained the how very hard it is for a father to be provide security provider to his dependents in such extreme conditions.
Mar’i finished our Skype conversation by saying: “It is an incredibly odd feeling when I think so frequently about how I am going to die.