Aid workers forced to flee Gaza amidst fighting and destruction

Today Hamas-run television aired what it said were live images from Shifa Hospital after an Israeli drone made a “direct” strike. The Israel Defense Forces sent a text message to media blaming “failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists” for the attack on Gaza’s biggest public hospital and another spot nearby, Al-Shati Refugee Camp.

Since the beginning of this Israeli incursion, at least 1,100 Palestinians have died, according to medical officials in Gaza, and more than 180,000 displaced Palestinians have packed into 82 make-shift shelters.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat “90% of those killed are women and children.” UNICEF said that about two-thirds of the children killed were 12 years old or younger. The United Nations estimates that more than 70% of the Palestinians killed were civilians.

Estimates indicate that 70 percent of the population of Gaza is now without access to safe water. The main sewage pumping station and primary sewage treatment plant has been hit directly, and sewage is flowing directly into the Mediterranean as well as down the streets into the neighborhoods and fields, contaminating a huge amount of area.

Last week, when fighting was briefly suspended in parts of Gaza, it allowed for some evacuations of the wounded.

But at least one of those rescue missions was short-lived when the International Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent entered the battered and embattled Gaza City neighborhood of Shaja’ia and had to turn back themselves, under fire.

The area has been shelled almost around the clock for more than four days as part of Israel’s offensive against Hamas.

“The small arms fire is increasing in intensity, and directed at us [but] we’re coming back,” Red Cross veteran Larry Maybee said.

United Nations workers trying to aid people in Gaza found themselves stuck between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters, with neither side showing any sign of backing down.

[CNN]

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