The conflict between Israel and Hamas has been raging for years. In 2014, the war between the two escalated, when Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israeli troops, resulting in the death of a number of Israeli soldiers. In the process, the organization also managed to capture Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and held him in captivity for five years. Despite the international attention the incident garnered, it’s been one of the least-covered events of 2014.
The September conflict in Gaza is the deadliest of its kind since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge . While the number of fatalities is down from the 2016 Gaza war , the number of people injured is roughly the same . The human cost of the fighting is high, and it’s leaving deep scars behind.
Following a week of heavy fighting and a breakdown of the short ceasefire on Tuesday (26 July 2014), Israel retaliated with an airstrike targeting the Gaza Strip’s power plant, plunging the already impoverished territory of 1.8 million people into darkness for as long as a week. The shutdown of the only electricity plant in Gaza, which produces most of the power needed for daily life, has left some areas of Gaza without power for up to 24 hours each day. Many residents have resorted to using generators. The power plant has been hit repeatedly since Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge against Gaza on 8 July.
GAZA CITY – Until 1:00,
the apartment began to shake as bombs exploded in his neighborhood in Gaza. She and her family ran down the stairs to safety. The floor collapsed beneath them, and she dove into the darkness. I thought I was dead, she said.
Israeli warplanes bombed nearby Al-Wahda Street, collapsing the building of Mrs. Al-Kolak and two other buildings. Israel said the attacks targeted underground tunnels used by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which took control of Gaza in 2007 and now leads the government.
According to the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, the attack in Al-Wahda Street on 16… A total of 48 people were killed in May, making it one of the deadliest hours of the recent, 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Palestinian rescue workers search for survivors of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on May 16.
Mahmoud Hams/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The death toll shows the dangers of war in densely populated areas. Gaza is about the same size as Washington, D.C., and has three times the population. Hamas and other militant groups maneuver between and sometimes among the civilian population.
Israel says it is trying to avoid civilian casualties by hitting the militants, their military infrastructure and their weapons factories. Hamas and Gazans say Israel carries out attacks on civilian homes, medical, educational and social facilities, often without warning.
When asked if there was a tunnel under Al-Wahda street or if Hamas was building tunnels under residential areas,
head of Hamas’ international relations office, said: How we defend, with or without tunnels, where we place the tunnels is our decision.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups have called for an investigation into the attacks that destroyed homes of civilians, including those on Al-Wahda Street, as they may be war crimes. The group also called for an investigation into war crimes related to Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities.
Israel launched airstrikes against Hamas after the militants fired rockets into Jerusalem. Hamas said it was acting after the Israeli crackdown on Palestinian protesters at Al-Aqsa Mosque and elsewhere in Jerusalem. Both sides agreed to a ceasefire that took effect Friday.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 242 Palestinians and 12 people were killed in Israel during the 11 days of fighting, according to Israeli aid agency Magen David Adom.
A crater on Al-Wahda Street in Gaza City days after the May 16 airstrike.
In Al-Wahda street, a crater more than a meter deep was formed, in which sewage water spilled. Nearby, piles of rubble littered with broken furniture, cement and glass. Some of the buildings that had remained were full of cracks.
An Israeli military official said the air force’s target was the tunnels below and that, according to the army’s preliminary analysis, something above the tunnels, which the army was unaware of, caused another, much larger explosion that also brought down the buildings.
According to the official, the military only hit the road near the buildings, not the buildings themselves.
42, lived on the top floor of a three-story building that collapsed. He said he fled with his wife and children through the kitchen, which was suddenly on the ground floor. He said engineers who visited the site told him the building had sunk about 40 feet below street level.
I felt like I was being sucked into the ground, said Mr Al-Kolak, who is a member of Zainab Al-Kolak’s extended family.
Palestinians rescue a survivor from the rubble of an apartment building after airstrikes in Gaza City on May 16.
Khalil Hamra/Associated Press
Firefighters rushed to rescue neighbors trapped under piles of broken concrete, sometimes having to dig with their hands, and residents called family members trapped under the rubble.
Ms Al-Kolak, who fell through the floor of her building when it collapsed, said she was pulled out from under the rubble 12 hours later and discovered that her mother, sister and two brothers had not survived. His father, who injured his shoulder and can no longer stand, remains in the hospital.
I just feel lonely, said Ms Al-Kolak, a 22-year-old artist and student who was looking forward to the graduation ceremony her mother had planned after she graduated next month. Everything’s dark in here.
According to family members, the extended Al-Kolak family lost 22 people.
Residents stated that they were not aware of any militant activity or tunnels in the area.
I chose this place because I thought it was safe, said Riad Ashkontna, a survivor of the 16 airstrikes. May.
I chose this place because I thought it would be safe, she says.
a survivor of the attack who lost his wife and four of his five children. I would not risk the lives of my children if I had any suspicion of military activity.
According to family members and neighbors, the victims ranged in age from three to 85 and generally belonged to three extended families living in the same houses.
Since there are no designated bunkers in the area, the residents of Al-Wahda Street hid in their homes, believing that this was the safest place to wait out the bombing. Most cannot leave Gaza because the Israeli and Egyptian borders are closed and impose restrictions that make escape from the fighting almost impossible.
Azzam Al-Kolak said that he escaped with his wife and children through the kitchen when his building on Al-Wahda Street collapsed due to airstrikes.
Israel claims that its attacks on what it considers Hamas’ extensive network of tunnels were a central part of the military operation. During last week’s fighting, Israel claimed to have destroyed more than 100 km of tunnels in the Gaza Strip.
Insurgent groups, from the Viet Cong to the Afghan Taliban, have used tunnels to hide from their enemies. Hamas has stated that its military tunnels are necessary for self-defense.
Hamas’ armed wing uses tunnels to transport fighters and supplies into the Gaza Strip and has infiltrated Israel to carry out attacks, Israeli officials said. Palestinians in Gaza also sneak into neighboring Egypt through tunnels to smuggle in food, fuel and other goods restricted by Israeli border barriers.
In some cases, Israel warned civilians of airstrikes so they could flee. Israel claims that such calls are often made when they are directed at towers that Israel claims house Hamas military offices and infrastructure.
A Palestinian mourns those killed in airstrikes on Gaza City on 16. May were killed.
Mahmoud Hams/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
An Israeli military official said residents of the buildings had not been warned because Israel had hit other similar tunnels without hitting the houses above them.
The IDF says it is trying to use surgical methods to target specific areas, but recognizes the risks of such operations and says its priority in all operations is the protection of Israeli civilians. Residents of the Israeli town of Sderot, on the border with Gaza, are regularly attacked by Hamas, a senior Israeli military official said.
Saving the lives of the residents of Sderot comes before the lives of the people living there who have agreed to live near military installations, the senior official said.
The WSJ examined satellite images showing destruction on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border. The scars left by air and missile strikes highlight the military imbalance between a powerful army and the warring factions, and the impact of the conflict on the civilian population. Photo: Maxar Technologies/Associated Press, Planet Labs
-Anas Baba in Gaza City and Raja Abdulrahim in London contributed to this article.
Email Felicia Schwartz at fe[email protected] and Jared Malsin at [email protected].
Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8The Israel-Hamas conflict has been ongoing for over a decade, and the past few years have seen the number of conflict-related casualties continue to skyrocket. Last year’s war between Israel and Gaza saw the death of more than 2,000 people on both sides, while it was estimated that more than a quarter-million people were displaced.. Read more about why is israel attacking gaza and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the conflict between Israel and Hamas?
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
What caused the Hamas Israel conflict?
The conflict began in September 2000, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Israeli militant group, the Jewish Defense League, engaged in a violent clash in Jerusalem. The conflict escalated in December of that year, when Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed the Mecca Agreement, which called for the PA to take control of the Gaza Strip and halt all attacks against Israel. The Israeli government refused to accept the agreement, and the conflict continued.
Who started the conflict between Israel and Hamas?
Israel started the conflict by invading Gaza in 2008.
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