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Israeli strikes on Gaza put focus on the humanitarian crisis in ‘the world’s largest open-air jail’

Israeli strikes on Gaza put focus on the humanitarian crisis in ‘the world’s largest open-air jail’

Israel launched multiple air strikes on Gaza on August 5, in another eruption of open warfare between Israel and Palestinian militants. The latest attacks come just over a year after hundreds were killed in an intense period of conflict in the territory.

Israel announced its missile strikes were targeting military leaders of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad militant organisation in Gaza. Israel alleged Islamic Jihad forces were making “threatening movements” near the Israeli border.

Israel’s strikes killed two key leaders of Islamic Jihad in Gaza and severely damaged its military capabilities.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad responded by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel. The Israel Defence Forces reported its Iron Dome missile defence system was operating at a 97% success rate in intercepting rockets launched from Gaza. No Israelis had been killed or seriously injured.

But the past few days of intense conflict have extracted a very heavy civilian toll in Gaza. The Palestinian Health Ministry reports at least 44 dead and over 350 civilians wounded. Reportedly among the dead were 15 Palestinian children, including five boys killed by a missile strike as they visited their grandfather’s grave.

An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad has now begun. It is too early to say whether the ceasefire will hold, or for how long.

The Palestinian...

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