Three weeks into the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, the violence has taken a massive toll on the Gaza Strip, where more than 1,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in an aerial and ground campaign aimed at stymieing Hamas rockets and destroying the group’s network of underground tunnels.
Israel has also paid a human price, with at least 48 of its soldiers killed, but the destruction has been concentrated in Gaza, whose ramshackle buildings easily give under Israeli bombardment. Recently released satellite imagery reveals the extent of that destruction.
The satellite image below, taken on July 25 and released by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, shows the neighborhood of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. Last week the neighborhood saw a U.N. school shelled, killing 16 people and wounding more than 100.
Due to its proximity to the border, this small slice of Gaza finds itself in the crosshairs. Each red square denotes a completely destroyed building; orange is a severely damaged structure; yellow is a moderately damaged one; and green denotes a crater. The analysis found 214 completely destroyed structures, 122 that were severely damaged, and 103 that were moderately damaged. The inset at the top right includes before and after photographs of a heavily damaged section of Beit Hanoun. (Click to enlarge the image.)
The image below provides a similar snapshot but over a slightly larger section of Gaza. It includes areas of Gaza City, Shejaiya, Toffah, and Shaaf. Shejaiya has been the scene of some of the conflict’s deadliest fighting and this image reflects that. According to the U.N., 700 structures have been destroyed. The inset shows that entire city blocks have been destroyed by Israeli bombardment. (Click to enlarge the image.)
Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He is the author of The Arab Uprising (March 2012, PublicAffairs).
He publishes frequently on the politics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Arab media and information technology, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Islamist movements.| Marc Lynch |