Mobs of desperate Palestinians break into UN warehouses as Gaza begins to descend into anarchy as supplies run dangerously low in the besieged city
- Mobs of desperate Palestinians broke into UN warehouses and took supplies
- UNRWA warned looting is a sign of the growing fear and desperation in Gaza
Gaza is descending into anarchy as supplies are running dangerously low in the besieged city, agencies warned last night.
Mobs of desperate Palestinians broke into UN warehouses and took flour and basic survival supplies, prompting fears that civil order was on the brink of collapse.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned the looting was a sign of the growing fear and desperation in Gaza, where food and water supplies have run dangerously low.
It came as the restoration of phone and internet connections allowed residents to describe their 36 hours of horror under the relentless bombardment.
Palestinians storm a UN-run aid supply centre. Experts warned the looting was a sign of the growing fear and desperation in Gaza, where food and water supplies have run dangerously low
Palestinians collect bags of dried pulses from a UN-run aid supply center, distributing food to local Palestinians and people displaced following Israel’s call for more than 1 million residents in northern Gaza to move south for their safety
The Washington Post reported that Israel deliberately shut off communications in Gaza ahead of its latest wave of bombings and ground raids
More than 8,000 people have been killed in Gaza in the last three weeks, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry.
The death toll includes 3,324 children. Save The Children said that figure was higher than the total number of children killed in conflict zones around the world since 2019.
As the stranglehold on fuel and supplies continued, the charity said its surgeons were reduced to performing surgeries without anaesthetic and by the light of mobile phones.
Palestinian photojournalist Belal Khaled shared a photograph of a tiny white shroud covering the body of a day-old baby said to have been killed in the bombing.
On the shroud was written: ‘Uday Aby Mohsen, he is one day old. He was not issued a birth certificate, but a death certificate was issued.’
For some, the first calls and messages brought reassurance and relief, but for others the restoration of communications brought only devastation.
One woman, Noor Ashour, wrote that every message she received was about the death of a friend or neighbour, adding: ‘If only the internet stayed disconnected.’
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said it had been ‘torturous’ not knowing whether her family in Gaza were safe.
She said she had finally received a message they were alive, but told the BBC: ‘There is bombing in the south, there was bombing on the so-called safe route that they were given to get to the south. Nowhere in Gaza is safe.
‘The conversation in Gaza now has changed. No longer are people saying, ‘Where do we go to be safe’. The question they are now asking is ‘Where do we want to be when we die?’
The Washington Post reported that Israel deliberately shut off communications in Gaza ahead of its latest wave of bombings and ground raids.
It said the US insisted mobile phone and internet service had to be restored, and that Gaza could not be kept cut off from the world.
President Joe Biden, who is one of Israel’s most strident international supporters, also urged Israel to ‘immediately and significantly increase’ aid to Gaza.
In a phone call with Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said the country needed to conduct its campaign ‘in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritises the protection of civilians’.
Rishi Sunak and French president Emmanuel Macron have also vowed to work together to get aid into Gaza, the UK Prime Minister’s spokesman said.
Thomas White, an UNRWA director in Gaza, said the warehouse looting was a sign of the despair and frustration in the territory.
Smoke rises in Gaza which is seen from the Sderot city as the Israeli airstrikes continue in Sderot, Israel
The International Criminal Court said it had ‘active investigations ongoing’ into alleged war crimes committed in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. Pictured, Israeli airstrike in Gaza, Palestine
Thousands broke into aid depots in Deir al Balah, where convoys have brought aid into Gaza from Egypt.
Mr White said: ‘This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza.
‘People are scared, frustrated and desperate. Tensions and fear are made worse by the cuts in the phones and internet communication lines. They feel they are on their own, cut off from their families and the rest of the world.’
Mr Biden spoke with Mr Netanyahu and stressed the need to increase aid to Gaza and to protect civilian lives.
Israel said it would allow increased supplies of aid through the Rafah crossing in Egypt in the coming days.
It said supplies would be distributed in ‘humanitarian safe zones’ around Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.
The International Criminal Court said it had ‘active investigations ongoing’ into alleged war crimes committed in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
Prosecutor Karim Khan said the ICC was scrutinising the brutal raids in Israel on October 7 that prompted the current crisis, and also the situation in Palestine.
He said neither side should prevent aid supplies from reaching civilians, adding: ‘They are innocent. They have rights under international humanitarian law.’
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