The IOF has dropped at least 6,000 bombs on the densely populated area, the equivalent to a quarter of a nuclear bomb.
Israel launched another airstrike on the Rafah crossing on Monday despite international efforts to secure the safe entry of urgent aid into the besieged Gaza Strip amid a worsening humanitarian catastrophe.
The area of the vital crossing between Gaza and Egypt was hit with an airstrike by the Israeli forces where hundreds of Palestinians eagerly awaited to exit the besieged enclave, AFP reported.
The Rafah crossing has long served as a lifeline for Palestinians in Gaza as it is the only crossing that is not controlled by Israel. However, it has been shut since Israel’s relentless bombardment campaign on the strip began last week.
The Gaza side of the crossing was hit at least three times by Israeli air strikes, which in 11 days have killed over 2,808 Palestinians, including at least 1,000 children, and wounded more than 11,000 others.
At least 64 percent of the Palestinians killed by the Israeli air strikes are women and children, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Gaza’s 2.3 million population is currently trapped in the besieged enclave without access to food, water and electricity due to the “complete blockade” on the strip by Israel.
At least one million Palestinians have also been displaced, with many taking shelter in open parking spaces, inside vehicles or schools operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Egypt has engaged in numerous talks over the reopening of the Rafah Crossing with various countries, including Qatar, the United States and Israel.
On Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said his country sought to keep the Rafah crossing open but Israel had prevented it from its side.
Earlier, Egyptian media reported that Cairo had denied a US request to open the Rafah crossing for foreign nationals only without enabling the safe passage of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The Egyptian refusal came after reported talks between the US, Qatar, and Israel to open the Rafah crossing to allow for much-needed aid to enter Gaza as it faces a complete blockade by the occupying state.
In the meantime, tonnes of foreign aid have been stacking up in trucks in Egypt’s Sinai awaiting to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Egypt had called on potential donors to instead deliver aid to Egypt’s Al Arish International Airport, where other aid flights have already landed.
On Monday, Qatar joined the international community in delivering aid to Gaza by dispatching the first of three Qatar Emiri Air Force flights to Al Arish International Airport in the Sinai peninsula, carrying 37 tonnes of aid.
The aid supplies come as Gaza faces a worsening humanitarian catastrophe caused by the relentless Israeli bombardment of the city.
‘Quarter of nuclear bomb’ dropped
Since last week, Israel has launched a barrage of attacks on Gaza amid its plans to reduce the city to rubble while threatening a full-scale ground invasion.
The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said last week that Israel turned Gaza into “a hellhole”, with at least 14 Palestinians getting killed every hour. The IOF has dropped at least 6,000 bombs on the densely populated area, the equivalent to a quarter of a nuclear bomb, the rights entity confirmed.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) separately accused Israel of using internationally-restricted white phosphorus in its operations in Gaza.
“Any time that white phosphorus is used in crowded civilian areas, it poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering,” said Lama Fakih, Middle East and North Africa director at HRW earlier this week.
Israel has used last week’s Hamas’ ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ as a pretext for its atrocities in Gaza.
The operation was carried out by Hamas’ armed wing, Al-Aqsa Brigades, during which the Palestinian fighters managed to break out from besieged Gaza into occupied areas through air, land and sea.
The operation marked the biggest Palestinian attack on Israel in modern history, which saw the fighters capture at least 150 Israelis including Israeli soldiers.
The spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obeida, confirmed in a televised speech on Monday that 22 of the captives held in Gaza had been killed by Israeli air strikes.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Egyptian President Abdelfattah El-Sisi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza “exceeded the right to self-defence” and has now turned into “collective punishment”.
US President Joe Biden is also scheduled to visit Israel on Wednesday where he will reiterate his ally’s “right to self-defence” against Hamas.
The government media office in Gaza said on Tuesday that the casualties in the latest Israeli aggression have “exceeded all the wars that Gaza has been exposed to in recent years”.
“The international community must take serious and immediate steps to stop the crime of ethnic cleansing. We demand a quick response to distress calls by bringing relief aid to citizens and humanitarian aid to the service sectors,” it said in a statement.
Since last week, the IOF destroyed 3,731 residential buildings, including 10,500 housing units, while partially damaging 10,000 others and putting 18 schools out of service, according to Wafa.