Gaza City – At least 30 Israeli missiles targeted the residential Yarmouk Square in Gaza City, levelling at least eight inhabited apartment buildings.
A massive black cloud of smoke and dust rose from Jalaa Street on Wednesday afternoon, and hundreds of Palestinians rushed to the site to rescue survivors trapped under the rubble.
As two boys pulled from the rubble were carried away on a stretcher, arms around each other, they cried out: “Thank you, civil defence! We love you!”
“The civil defence and ambulance crews have so far recovered 120 killed Palestinians and approximately 260 wounded from Yarmouk Square,” said Iyad al-Buzum, the spokesman for the interior ministry in Gaza, on Thursday. “We still have 300 missing people under the rubble.”
This brings the number of people trapped under the rubble since the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip began on October 7 to 1,950 people, including 900 children.
More than 7,028 Palestinians have been killed over the past 20 days, including 2,913 children and 1,709 women.
Al-Buzum said that due to the absence of heavy machinery and lack of fuel, civil defence crews will need about a week to recover the missing people.
About 45 percent of the Gaza Strip’s housing units, or 200,000 units, have been destroyed or badly damaged, Palestinian officials say.
Salama Marouf, the head of the government media office in Gaza, told Al Jazeera Israel is using munitions that cause massive destruction to infrastructure, and that there are many indications that Israel is using internationally banned explosives, pointing to the melting limbs of some of the wounded.
“The criminality of the occupier in the current aggression is unprecedented,” Marouf said. “It has wiped out entire families from the civil registry, levelled neighbourhoods and residential communities with their residents, and destroyed facilities including hospitals, places of worship, bakeries, water filling stations, markets, schools, and educational and service institutions.”
Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said that “nowhere is safe in Gaza”.
“When the evacuation routes are bombed, when people north as well as south are caught up in hostilities, when the essentials for survival are lacking, and when there are no assurances for return, people are left with nothing but impossible choices,” she said.