'Our dream home destroyed in a second': Gaza residents bear the brunt of Israeli strikes

'This is our fate as Palestinians,' says resident Ahmed Al Aosatath, as at least 132 people killed in overnight bombing

Smoke billowing over Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, on Monday, amid the continuing Israeli bombardment. AFP
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“I was sitting at home and now I'm displaced,” Ahmed Al Aosatath, a resident of Deir Al Balah, in central Gaza, told The National, after his home was destroyed early on Monday in an Israeli air strike.

At least 132 Palestinians were killed in overnight bombings, Gaza's Health Ministry reported, as the besieged enclave was also hit by a communications blackout.

The ministry said that Israel conducted “intense” strikes and artillery bombardments that hit the southern cities of Khan Younis and Rafah, as well as Deir Al Balah and areas further north around Gaza city.

Two hospitals, a girls' school and dozens of homes were among those destroyed in the attack.

The Israeli military accuses Hamas of having tunnels under hospitals and using them as command centres, as well as exploiting civilian infrastructure in general to shield its activities. Hamas denies this.

Mr Al Aostath told The National that he is terrified as one of the bombs that targeted his family home didn't explode and remains outside.

“The house is partially destroyed and is unsuitable to live in,” he said.

He had hoped to retrieve personal items that could be of use, but found that everything was destroyed.

“We spent years building our dream house, and then in one second everything exploded. This is our fate as Palestinians,” he said.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra, said the Israeli army deliberately destroyed residential neighbourhoods, along with healthcare system and infrastructure.

Israel's military campaign on Gaza has killed total of 24,100 Palestinians while 60,834 have been injured in Israeli strikes since the war began, the Gaza health ministry said on Monday.

Some 132 Palestinians were killed and 252 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

“There are still a number of victims under the rubble and on the roads where the ambulance and civil defence crews cannot reach them,” said Mr Al Qudra.

Israeli strikes followed attacks by Hamas militants on Israeli communities on October 7 in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 240 abducted.

Meanwhile, telecoms and internet services remain cut off in the strip for the fourth day in a row.

Eighty per cent of Gaza's communication sector has been damaged by Israel's strikes, reported Palestinian news agency Wafa.

“Technical crews are being directly targeted while carrying out their work, despite co-ordination with international institutions,” said the agency.

This is the seventh time that communications have been cut off from the strip since the Israel-Gaza war began.

As a result of the constant targeting by Israel's military, Gaza's infrastructure, networks and transmission towers have been destroyed or severely damaged resulting in frequent power cuts, pressure on the network and weak transmission, the agency said.

Updated: January 15, 2024, 1:44 PM