John Vaise, Holly Yan — CNN July 30, 2014
While dueling political leaders blame each other for the carnage in Gaza, residents in the besieged territory are grappling with a new, nightmarish life:
Dozens of deaths reported each day. Dwindling fuel and water supplies. And now Gaza’s only power plant is off the grid after it was struck.
The violence continued Wednesday morning, when Israeli forces shelled the Abu Hussein School in northern Gaza and killed at least 20 people, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
The Israeli military said it is investigating.
The school was a U.N. facility based in Gaza’s Jebaliya refugee camp, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency said. Agency spokesman Gaza Adnan Abu Hasna said 19 people were killed and 126 were injured.
Abu Hasna attributed the high number of casualties to the timing of the attack — when many had gathered for morning prayers.
The daily bloodshed is now exasperated by crumbling infrastructure from the violence.
Palestinian officials blamed an Israeli airstrike for the attack on Gaza’s only power plant. But Israel said it didn’t target the power plant.
“I’ve gone through our air force, our navy, our ground forces on the ground. Haven’t been able to determine it was IDF activity,” Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner said.
Either way, residents must depend almost entirely on small generators for electricity. Clean water is inaccessible for most. And some 3,600 people have lost their homes.
“We cannot supply electricity” for hospitals, sewage treatment or domestic use, said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Energy Natural Resources Authority in Gaza. “This is a disaster.”
Salah Jarour owns a small convenience store in Gaza. He now runs the store in the dark.
“This is not fair. We have children. Hospitals need power,” Jarour said. “The Israelis are not human.”
Many roads in Gaza City are deserted, except for ambulances pre-positioned to assist in case of an Israeli airstrike.
At least 1,242 people in Gaza have died and more than 7,000 have been wounded since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said.
The number of militants killed is unclear, but the United Nations estimates that 70% to 80% of the dead are civilians.
On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers have died since Operation Protective Edge began July 8, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Three civilians have been killed in Israel as well.