Gaza endures one of war's bloodiest nights with 400 dead

Hospitals and civilian compounds were hit by Israeli strikes

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Civilians in Gaza endured one of the bloodiest nights since the war with Israel began on Sunday, with more than 400 people killed in attacks by Israeli warplanes.

The attacks hit Jabalia and Beit Lahia in the north, Al Wusta and Al Rimal neighbourhood, Al Shati camp in the west and Khan Younis and Rafah in the south within the space of 24 hours, Palestinian news agency Wafa said on Monday.

Many of those killed and wounded were women and children.

About 5,000 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed in Gaza during Israeli bombardments in retaliation for the Hamas attacks on October 7, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said.

Israeli jets bombed Al Shifa hospital complex in central Gaza city on Sunday. Al Shifa is sheltering civilians, most of whom are wounded and in need of treatment, as well as medical staff, according to Wafa.

The compound of Al Quds hospital in Tal Al Hawa district in west of Gaza was hit for a second time.

A doctor at the Al Aqsa Hospital said 65 per cent of the casualties taken to the hospital overnight were children, reports said.

Israeli warplanes were “aiming to cause confusion in the health system by directly threatening hospitals with evacuation and bombing, or by bombing nearby areas”, said Wafa.

Videos circulated on social media early on Sunday portraying the horrifying moments civilians were running for safety as Israeli war planes pounded various areas across Gaza.

The Israeli military said on Saturday that it would be increasing attacks on blockaded enclave as it prepared for what it called the “next stage” in the fight against Hamas.

Emergency departments across the majority of hospitals face a shortage of fuel, power and medical supplies, as well as doctors and health workers.

Close to 500 people were killed in an air strike on Al Ahli Al Arab hospital in northern Gaza on October 17, causing international outrage.

Before the attack, the hospital was operational, also housing internally displaced civilians seeking shelter from air strikes.

Hospitals in the north have faced evacuation notices by the Israeli army, although health officials and aid groups have said moving patients would be “impossible”.

“The order for evacuation has been impossible to carry out given the current insecurity, critical condition of many patients and lack of ambulances, staff, health system bed capacity and alternative shelter for those displaced,” the World Health Organsiation said last week.

At least 16 people were killed during an air strike that hit the St Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church complex on Thursday.

Those killed were seeking shelter in the church, part of which dates back to the fifth century.

At least 450 people had been sheltering at the church complex in Gaza city when it was hit.

Updated: October 23, 2023, 8:32 AM