Almost four months after the start of the war in the Gaza Strip, at least half of all buildings in the Mediterranean coastal strip have been damaged or destroyed, according to a media report. As the BBC reported after evaluating satellite data, between 144,000 and 175,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed.
That is between 50 and 61 percent of all buildings in the coastal area. The footage also shows that the bombardment of the southern and central Gaza Strip has intensified since the beginning of December, with the hotly contested city of Chan Yunis in the south of the coastal area being particularly badly affected.
Israel repeatedly emphasizes that it is at war with the Islamist Hamas and not with civilians. Hamas fighters used civilian buildings to attack from, store weapons and hide entrances to underground tunnels. Across the Gaza Strip, residential areas have been devastated, once-bustling shopping streets reduced to rubble, universities destroyed and farmland disturbed, the BBC reported.
The satellite images were analyzed at the City University of New York and Oregon State University. Older and current images were compared to identify changes in the height or structure of buildings that indicated damage.
The city of Khan Yunis, which is considered a Hamas stronghold, has been particularly affected in recent weeks, it said. The analysis showed that more than 38,000 or more than 46 percent of the buildings there have now been destroyed or damaged. According to the UN, thousands of people have fled to Rafah. More than 1.3 million people, more than half of the approximately 2.2 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, were now staying there.