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Worse than Dresden 1945: Israel’s Gaza rampage leaves 75% of buildings damaged or destroyed

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08 May 2024 12:05:58 GMT9
08 May 2024 12:05:58 GMT9
  • Destruction of Gaza compared to controversial bombing of German city at end of Second World War
  • Israel seizes control of Rafah crossing with Egypt, halting aid

Arab News

JEDDAH: Israel’s seven-month bombardment of Gaza has caused more destruction than the controversial firebombing of the German city of Dresden near the end of the Second World War, analysts of satellite images said on Tuesday.

Nearly 75 percent of buildings in Gaza City have been damaged or destroyed, five hospitals have been completely destroyed, fewer than one in three hospitals are even partially functioning, 408 schools out of 563 have been damaged and 53 completely destroyed, and more than 60 percent of mosques have been reduced to rubble.

“The fastest rates of destruction were in the first two to three months of the bombardment,” said Corey Scher, a satellite image analyst at the City University of New York in the US. “The rate of damage being registered is unlike anything we have studied before. It is much faster and more extensive than anything we have mapped.”

In comparison, four air raids on Dresden in February 1945 destroyed just under 60 percent of the city’s buildings. US and British bombers dropped more than 3,900 tonnes of high-explosive and incendiary devices that devastated more than 6.5 km2 of the city in one of the most controversial acts of the war.

In Gaza on Tuesday, Israeli forces seized the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the enclave, shutting down a vital aid route. Tanks rolled through the crossing complex and the Israeli flag was raised on the Gaza side.
There was heavy tank shelling on Tuesday evening in eastern Rafah. “They have gone crazy, tanks are firing shells and smoke bombs cover the skies and with smoke over Al-Salam and Jneinah neighborhoods,” said Emad Joudat, 55, a refugee from Gaza City. “I am now seriously thinking of heading north, maybe to the central Gaza area. If they move further into Rafah it will be the mother of massacres.”

The seizure of the crossing came despite weeks of calls from allies and international bodies for Israel to hold off from a major offensive in the city. Israel’s military said it was conducting a limited operation in Rafah to kill Hamas fighters and dismantle its infrastructure.

Meanwhile there was confusion in Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a ceasefire proposal that Hamas accepted on Monday night. One Israeli official said the plan was almost identical to Israel’s own truce proposal submitted at the end of April, with some minor amendments.

However, Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the ceasefire plan fell “far short” of Israel’s demands. Talks on a truce continue in Cairo.

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