GAZA CITY: Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad military commander on Monday as the death toll in its war on Gaza rose to 212, including 61 children and 36 women.
Hussam Abu Harbeed died in a renewed wave of airstrikes on residential and commercial buildings, including a seaside cafeteria, as the conflict entered a second week.
At least seven Palestinians were killed, including two who died in a missile attack on a seven-story office building in Gaza City. Israel also bombed what its military described as 15 km of underground tunnels used by Hamas, and the homes of nine high-ranking Hamas commanders.
On the edge of the Jabalya refugee camp, firefighters tried to put out fires caused when an Israeli artillery shell hit a sponge factory. Vast clouds of smoke filled the skies.
Workers cleared debris from wrecked buildings from the streets and tried to repair damaged telephone and electricity lines. People also searched through the rubble of ruined buildings to retrieve belongings.
“There is a systematic targeting of infrastructure by the Israeli occupation,” the mayor of Gaza City, Yahya Al-Sarraj, told Arab News.
“Main streets have been destroyed, including the one that leads to Al-Shifa Hospital, affecting sanitation and the water supply.
“The only desalination plant in Gaza City has stopped working, as a result of the continuous Israeli bombardment of the surrounding areas and the inability of workers to reach it, and the continuous electricity cuts have affected the pumping of water into homes.”
A reliable power supply is a daily challenge for Ziad Sheikh Khalil, 44, and his wife and four children. “We hardly get three hours of electricity a day,” he told Arab News.
“We all work quickly together when the power is on, to connect electrical equipment and charge mobile phones, operate the washing machine and pump water to the tanks at the top of the building.”
Electricity company spokesman Mohammed Thabit told Arab News that six of the 10 lines supplying 120 megawatts of power to Gaza had been knocked out, and there was a shortage of fuel for the only power station because of the closure of the Kerem Abu Salem crossing from Israel.
“There is also significant damage to the electricity networks as a result of the Israeli bombing of residential areas, which causes the electricity cables to be cut, which increases the suffering,” he said.
Egypt is leading efforts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza, but the US has blocked three draft UN Security Council statements. US envoy Hady Amr met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Monday, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his staff had been “working around the clock” to end the conflict.