Intensified Israeli air strikes wiping out entire families in besieged Gaza, survivors say

Bombings kill scores in Khan Younis and other southern areas, in what Amnesty International described as 'war crimes'

At least 13 members of the Shawa family were killed while eight others were still missing after an Israeli air strike destroyed their home. EPA
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An Israeli air strike killed 26 Palestinians sheltering in a house in Khan Younis late on Tuesday as Israeli warplanes increased the number of attacks on Gaza.

Another strike brought down several residential buildings in the south of Gaza, with health officials in the enclave estimating that at least 100 people were killed overnight.

"They are killing us, we are civilians and they are killing us, what can we say? There's so many young people and children who are missing, why is this happening to us?" Khalel Madey, who saw the strikes, told The National.

In the past week, hundreds of thousands of Gazans have fled to the south to seek refuge after Israel said it would attack the north in an attempt to "wipe out Hamas fighters".

Images and videos circulating on social media showed buildings reduced to rubble, injured civilians being rushed to hospitals and bodies being pulled out from the wreckage.

Gaza's Health Ministry said on Wednesday that at least 6,546 Palestinians had been killed and 17,439 others wounded since October 7.

In the occupied West Bank, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 wounded in violence and Israeli raids over the same period.

"We were sitting in the house and all of a sudden I see light and I started looking for my family. Some of them are severely injured – there are about 37 people killed," said Mustafa, 20, from Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza.

"I ran out of the door when the strike hit us."

Shelling of Gaza has wiped out entire families, according to Amnesty International.

Nader Al Kord, who lost 13 members of his family in an Israeli air strike on Monday, told The National that the majority of his relatives were killed in their home.

“They thought it was safe but suddenly they are under rubble,” he said.

Day and night bombardments across the Strip have crushed families beneath residential buildings.

Health officials said hundreds of Palestinian were killed in the past day and dozens of hospitals and medical clinics have closed due to damage and lack of power.

It’s a disaster when you lose dozens of members of your family. Who will compensate for my loss?
Nader Al Kord, Gaza resident

“It’s a disaster when you lose dozens of members of your family. Who will compensate for my loss?”, said Mr Al Kord, who lives in Nussirate neighbourhood in the centre of Gaza.

The devastating air bombardment continued overnight as Israeli jets hit sites across Gaza, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

The death toll is the worst yet in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with more than 6,500 killed in less than two weeks.

The continued siege on Gaza has had catastrophic humanitarian consequences for civilians, with Israeli forces expected to launch a ground offensive any day.

“The world doesn’t recognise us, this is what I feel, if they see us then they will stop what is happening,” Nabil Omara, from Shijaia in Gaza city, told The National.

Mr Omara left his building and fled to safety only to have the house he was sheltering in struck by an Israeli bomb.

“The house was targeted with my family, including four sons, their wives and children, the majority of them are still under the rubble,” he said.

Only six of the 22 children seeking safety from the bombardment managed to survive the strike, he said.

Updated: October 26, 2023, 4:33 AM