The death toll in Gaza has surged to 1,100, while over 5,339 Palestinians have been left injured due to relentless Israeli airstrikes. Nearly a dozen aid workers have also been killed since Israel began shelling the territory.
The Gaza Strip has been under a “full siege” and running out of all supplies with Gaza’s only power plant running out of fuel on Wednesday afternoon (October 11), forcing it to shut down after Israel cut off supplies.
According to the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), civilians in the Gaza Strip are in desperate need of food, water, and medicine.
“What is unfolding is already an unprecedented humanitarian tragedy. Whatever the circumstances are, rules apply in times of conflict, and this one is no exception,” Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement. “It is of utmost urgency that access to humanitarian assistance and protection be upheld for all civilians.”
The UNRWA also reported that nearly a dozen aid workers lost their lives since the initiation of shelling by Israel, underscoring the perilous situation in the region. “I am very saddened to confirm that 11 UNRWA colleagues have been killed since 7 October in the Gaza Strip,” deputy director of Gaza affairs for the UNRWA Jenifer Austin said.
“Some were killed in their homes with their families.”
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) also reported the loss of five of its members. “We have never seen such a deliberate targeting in this manner of medical professionals who are fulfilling humanitarian assistance,” Marwan Jilani, the director general of the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.
The UN has also said more than 180,000 Gazans had been made homeless, many huddling on streets or in schools. The UNRWA has also asked for $104 million to help displaced people of Gaza.
The conflict began after Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel — a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air.
Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip in response. That response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza.
Al-Azhar al-Sharif, the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning, called for an international investigation into allegations of war crimes by Israel against civilian Palestinians in Gaza, the Associated Press reported.
In a strong-worded statement, the Cairo-based religious institution called for Arab and Islamic countries to take “a serious and unified position against the West’s inhuman rally” behind Israel’s attacks against “innocent Palestinian civilians.”