Israel continues escalating its attacks against the Gaza Strip today, broadening its targets to include the strip’s only power plant, knocking out electricity for the 1.8 million Gazans for what officials say will be at least a year.
The growing onslaught also has the civilian death toll once again spiking, with at least 1,360 Gazans now confirmed killed, overwhelmingly civilians, and over 7,000 others wounded. Well over 200 of the slain are children under the age of 18.
On the Israeli side, the death toll stands at 59, with 56 of them soldiers involved in combat operations against the Gaza Strip, and three civilians. The real humanitarian toll goes well beyond the directly killed and wounded.
The UN officials in Gaza reported a “huge surge” in refugees seeking to hide in 85 UN-run shelters across the strip, saying there are now more than 200,000 civilians packed in those few nominally safe zones.
The safety of the UN-run shelters is very much in doubt, as Israel has attacked them over the course of the war already, and as they order more and more civilians from their homes, no real “safe zones” exist for them.
Whether in shelters or in their homes, the Gazans are facing growing shortages of food and water, and the destruction of the power plant means not only an end to electricity in the strip, but will bring most water pumping stations offline, leading to calls to carefully ration fresh water.