New analysis of satellite imagery conducted by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite has revealed the alarming scale of damage in the Gaza Strip following a month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas. The data suggests that an estimated 27-35% of buildings in the northern half of the territory have been damaged, while 13-18% of structures throughout the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or damaged.
The Gaza Strip, comparable to the size of Philadelphia but with a significantly higher population density, has endured relentless Israeli airstrikes in response to Hamas-led militants storming into Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 people and the capture of over 240 hostages. This continuous conflict has led to the displacement of nearly 1.5 million individuals in Gaza, according to United Nations figures.
Cities and refugee camps in Gaza have suffered extensive damage due to the bombings. Hospitals have also been targeted, despite denials from the Israeli military. Witnesses and international aid groups have reported ongoing airstrikes on or near hospitals in the northern Gaza region.
Although a brief pause in the bombardments occurred between October 25 and October 29, the analysis indicates that the damage has resumed and is rapidly increasing once again. Significant destruction has been recorded in the southern part of Gaza, with at least 8,900 buildings being damaged or destroyed.
The conflict has not only impacted residential areas but also caused damage to mosques, churches, and installations operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). Shockingly, at least 66 displaced individuals have lost their lives on UNRWA properties.
As the conflict persists, determining the specific origins of damage observed through satellite imagery is becoming more challenging. With continued Hamas rocket attacks and artillery shelling within the territory, the identification of responsibility for specific instances of destruction becomes increasingly complex.
The analysis serves as a stark visual reminder of the devastating toll the conflict has taken on the lives of the people in the Gaza Strip. The international community remains deeply concerned about the escalating violence and its impact on innocent civilians. Efforts to deescalate the situation and find a lasting resolution to the recurring conflicts between Israel and Hamas are urgently needed to ensure the protection and well-being of all those affected.
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