An Israeli civilian was killed by rocket fire coming from Gaza, on Tuesday, according to the Israeli army. This is the first Israeli death reported during the eight days of cross-border violence, AFP has reported, as nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed and over 1,000 injured, with Gaza hospitals lacking even the most basic medical supplies.
The man was fatally wounded near Erez crossing, the army said.
A spokesman for Israeli emergency services told AFP that the 38-year-old was delivering food to soldiers in the area.
At the time of this reports, Israel continues to bomb hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip. Over 200 Palestinians have been killed, including elderly, small children and entire families, approximately 80% of whom were civilians.
Hospitals are facing a shortage of medical supplies, as the number of bombing victims rises.
Over the past week of escalation, over 1,000 Palestinians have been wounded, many with head injuries, amputated limbs, permanent disabilities and embedded shrapnel. They include a four-day old infant, who was critically wounded by Israeli forces on Tuesday morning.
According to the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), pre-existing shortages of medical supplies are being exacerbated by heightened need and by the border policies of the Egyptian government, which continues to limit entry into Gaza.
Gaza’s Ministry of Health has announced a state of emergency, IRIN reports, with the danger of acute shortages of basic medication. Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra says the needs will soon become critical:
‘We are already facing a severe shortage – 35 to 40 percent – of needed medicines and disposables, which impacts the treatment of the growing number of injuries because of the current escalation.’
The World Health Organization has declared that 30 percent of Gaza’s essential drug list, as well as half of its disposable medical supplies were out of stock — even before the crisis.
With WHO, the Ministry has appealed for $60 million to cover out of stock medical supplies and medical referrals out of Gaza. (Details at Ma’an.)
The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006, leading to frequent humanitarian crises. With Egyptian backing, Israel tightened the blockade in 2007, following a political victory by Hamas.
Egypt’s frequent closure of Rafah crossing, the only border through which Palestinians can exit Gaza, has pushed an already dire humanitarian situation in the besieged coastal enclave to its utter limits.