A man holds a girl in his arms and evacuates from a building destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, on Oct. 12, 2023. (Photo by Khaled Omar/Xinhua)
GAZA, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The 35-year-old Farid Abdul Halim Mousleh thought that escaping the fierce bombardment on his town of Beit Hanoun, north of Gaza, would spare his family from the ongoing Israeli air strikes on the coastal enclave that have lasted for six days.
However, it seems that no place is safe in the Gaza Strip anymore as his new home in the heart of the Gaza City was also subjected to Israeli shelling, injuring him and his father and killing two of his elderly relatives.
Struggling to come to terms with the sudden and devastating losses in grief, the man, with his head all bandaged and eyes swollen from injuries, told Xinhua that "we did not expect such a tragedy."
Mousleh recalled that his family was getting ready to sleep when the Israeli attack began. Then he rushed out of the building to Jalaa Street in the heart of Gaza City with his parents, his wife, four children and some elderly relatives.
This photo taken on Oct. 10, 2023 shows destroyed buildings following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
The next morning, after a strong airstrike hit the place again where they had sought refuge, he woke up in a hospital bed.
Mousleh is one of the thousands of Palestinians who had to flee their homes in the border town of Beit Hanoun with Israel and other neighborhoods and camps in Gaza due to the continuous and intense Israeli bombardment for the past six days.
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) launched since Saturday thousands of rockets at Israeli cities, while hundreds of its militants infiltrated the Israeli towns adjacent to Gaza, killing and wounding Israelis.
Israel, in response, launched intense and unprecedented attacks on the Gaza Strip, causing widespread destruction and sometimes wiping out entire neighborhoods.
Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on Oct. 12, 2023. Israel on Thursday continued its airstrikes on various areas of the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
Now, the Shifa Medical Complex, a main medical center in Gaza, is overcrowded with casualties from Israeli shelling, including dozens of entire families.
The injured have spread out on the hospital's grounds, with some sleeping on mats or blankets, and children without shoes cling to their mothers when they hear the sound of explosions.
Facing the ever-worsening situation, Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila warned of the collapse of the overwhelmed healthcare system in the Gaza Strip due to a severe shortage of medical supplies.
Alkaila said in a press release that the large number of casualties exceeds the capacity of Gaza's hospitals, calling on international organizations and the Red Cross to immediately intervene and provide medical aid.
The death toll from Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip and West Bank has totaled 1,448, while 6,868 others were wounded, according to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Health Ministry on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Israel's public broadcaster Kan said the Israeli death toll had risen to more than 1,300.
Children injured in an Israeli airstrike are treated at a hospital in Gaza City, on Oct. 9, 2023. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
Israel cut off its power supply to the Gaza Strip and ordered a complete siege on the Palestinian enclave, home to over 2.2 million people.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Thursday that at least 340,000 Palestinians have been displaced since the escalation on Saturday.
"The water crisis is looming in UNRWA shelters and throughout Gaza due to the lack of electricity needed to operate pumps and water desalination plants and the limited water supply in the local market," added the UN agency. ■