100 days of suffering in the war between Israel and Hamas

JERUSALEM (AP) — Photos from a bleak war in the Middle East capture 100 days of suffering.

Scenes from Hamas’s surprise attack on a music festival, farming communities and army posts in southern Israel remain etched in the nation’s memory. Blood soaked bodies of young men and women were lying on the road where they had been shot. Or an elderly woman captured on a motorcycle between two gunmen in the Gaza Strip.

Approximately 1,200 people were killed that day, the highest civilian casualties in Israel’s history. More than 250 people were kidnapped. Some, mainly women and children, were freed or exchanged for Palestinian prisoners during a brief ceasefire, and others died in captivity.

Pain for the families of more than 100 people still held by Hamas. Murals on the streets and at public posts remember their ordeal in the minds of Israelis. The shock of what happened on October 7 has boosted national determination to confront a military offensive in Gaza aimed at eliminating Hamas.

On the edge

In the Strip, the daily firing of rockets, artillery and missiles by Israel creates new images of suffering and loss among Palestinians. As several rescue workers pulled out the body of a small child from the remains of a collapsed building. Or outside a morgue, with relatives crying over the bodies of their loved ones lying on the floor in white bags – another family killed in the bombing.

In the few hospitals that remain operational, The injured are treated on the floor. Many of these are children, who are covered in blood and crying in pain. Overwhelmed doctors try to cure them with minimal medicines and supplies.

In 100 days, Israel’s relentless bombing and ground campaign has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians – about 1% of the Strip’s 2.3 million residents. The fighting has displaced almost the entire population, which is now concentrated at the southern end of the besieged area.

To the north, which was the Israeli army’s first objective, mountains of debris fill the landscape. Gaza City and most of the surrounding districts have been devastated. Many residents who fled fear that they will never be allowed to return or that if they do, their neighborhoods will become uninhabitable.

In parts of southern Gaza where Israel recommended sheltering in place, rescue workers searched through smoke-filled piles of concrete, stones and dust for survivors of airstrikes and shelling. Tent settlements spring up on any empty space. Crowds gather at food distribution sites: one in four residents has nothing to eat due to the Israeli siege.

And the war continues. Israeli troops blow up entire blocks in Gaza and claim they are destroying Hamas tunnels. The rebel group fired rockets towards Israel. Israeli officials say their offensive will continue until 2024.

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