Written by Jack Elbaum
What’s happening: In response to the Palestinian attack on Israel, the nation has launched a total siege on Gaza, ceasing shipments of food, water, fuel, and electricity and killing more than 1,500 people, including hundreds of civilians.
Why are fatalities so high? Israel is striking more aggressively than it has in past conflicts, and despite Israel telling civilians where to go to avoid the strikes, Hamas is telling them to stay in the line of fire.
- The numbers: The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Though it’s only around 141 square miles, it has a population of over 2 million.
Human shields: Hamas’s explicit strategy is to use civilians, often children, as human shields and rack up the casualty counts. They use hospitals as headquarters and frequently use mosques, schools, and other public locations for military operations, which the Israeli Defense Force then targets.
What’s next: Israel asked 1.1 million Palestinian civilians to evacuate from Northern Gaza toward the South within the next 24 hours as it continues to strike and may be preparing for a ground invasion.
- But: Hamas is still telling Palestinians to stay put, and the UN said Israel’s demand is impossible without “devastating humanitarian consequences.”