Israel pounds Gaza as it orders ‘complete siege', calls Palestinians 'beastly people’
Israel has stepped up its ferocious pounding of the besieged Gaza Strip as its troops struggled to clear out Hamas fighters more than two days after they burst across the fence from Gaza and overran Israeli bases.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said he has ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel.
Israeli warplanes bombed a densely populated neighborhood at the Jabalia refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
The Gaza Health Ministry said the death toll from the Israeli attacks had reached 510, including 91 children and 61 women, with 2,751 others injured.
In a statement, the Israeli air force said it had dropped some 2,000 munitions and more than 1,000 ton bombs on Gaza in the last 20 hours.
"The Zionist enemy's military targeting and bombing of homes inhabited by women and children, mosques and schools in Gaza amount to war crimes and terrorism," Hamas official Izzat Reshiq said in a statement.
Power outages left hospitals and medical facilities in a tight spot, amid a shortage of medicine and medical equipment.
According to rights groups, Israeli attacks have killed multiple members of several families in Gaza.
The Israeli strikes have also led to the displacement of more than 123,000 people in the Gaza Strip, according to the United Nations.
“Over 123,538 people have been internally displaced in Gaza, mostly due to fear, protection concerns and the destruction of their homes,” the UN’s humanitarian agency, OCHA, said on Monday.
More than 73,000 are sheltering in schools, some of which have been designated emergency shelters.
Adnan Abu Hasna, a spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said he expected the numbers to increase further.
Gaza, home to over two million Palestinians, has been under Israeli siege since June 2007. The tight blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.