A United Nations compound in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, has become the site of devastating blasts, resulting in the death of nine people and injuring many others. The compound, managed by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), was housing approximately 800 displaced civilians when it was hit by two tank shells.
The UNRWA’s Gaza director, Thomas White, conveyed the gravity of the situation via X (formerly known as Twitter), describing “mass casualties” and noting that the compound’s carpentry building was struck amidst two days of intense fighting. He highlighted the challenges faced by UN staff in accessing the site during the conflict.
Despite ongoing communications and safety assurances from the Israeli army, White lamented the harsh reality of lives being lost in and around these supposedly protected facilities. This incident underscores the perilous situation in Gaza, where civilian areas and humanitarian shelters are not immune to the ongoing conflict.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have reported their presence around the western part of Khan Younis and their active operations within the area. They described their actions as part of a strategic effort to dismantle Hamas’ military framework, targeting military sites, outposts, and command centers. However, the IDF also mentioned that Hamas is exploiting densely populated areas, including shelters and hospitals, complicating the situation.
In the backdrop of these events, the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry reported a significant toll of over 200 Palestinian deaths in the past 24 hours, marking one of the deadliest periods in the Israeli campaign aimed at neutralizing Hamas. This follows the devastating attacks by Hamas inside Israel on October 7, which resulted in over 1,300 deaths and the taking of more than 250 hostages.
With more than 25,700 fatalities in Gaza since the Israeli invasion, the conflict continues to take a heavy toll on human lives, raising international concerns about the humanitarian crisis and the need for an immediate resolution to prevent further loss of life.