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Israel’s War on Gaza: An International Humanitarian Law Perspective

(Doha Institute)- Israelis woke at dawn on Saturday 7 October, to find hundreds of Palestinian fighters storming military bases and residential areas near the Gaza Strip. The Hamas attack, which the group labelled “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”, saw its gunmen seize dozens of military outposts and clash with Israeli military and security services, leaving more than 1,400 people dead and wounding some 5,431 others, both military and civilian. Palestinian fighters also managed to capture officers and soldiers as well as taking between 229 and 250 civilians hostage, dozens of whom were later killed.

The Israeli military responded the same day, with a full-scale assault on the Gaza Strip they dubbed “Operation Iron Swords”, the seventh and most violent war on the overcrowded coastal territory since Israel’s withdrawal from it in 2005. Israeli leaders made no secret of their intention to take revenge on Gaza.

 As of October 27, the war had killed at least 7,326 Palestinian civilians, including more than 3,038 children and 1,792 women, as well as wounding more than 18,967 people, mostly women and children. A further 108 Palestinian civilians had been killed in the West Bank by the army and Israeli settlers, including 33 children, with another 1,889 people injured. About 1,700 others have been reported missing in Gaza, including at least 940 children, some of whom may still be trapped or have died under the rubble.

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