Entire Palestinian Bloodlines Are Being 'Decimated'

The AP investigates the effect the Israel-Hamas war is having on large family groups
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 17, 2024 6:21 AM CDT
Entire Palestinian Families Are Being 'Decimated'
FILE - A bulldozer unloads the bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes and turned over by the Israeli military during a mass funeral in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023.   (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

To a degree never seen before, Israel's air and ground campaign in Gaza is killing entire Palestinian families. Entire bloodlines, sometimes four generations from the same family, have perished in single airstrikes or a series of airstrikes on members of the same family sheltering together from the bombs. Often there is no warning. An AP investigation identified at least 60 Palestinian families where 25 people or more were killed in bombings between October and December. It was the deadliest and most destructive phase of the war, now in its ninth month. Here are the key takeaways from the AP analysis:

  • Several families have almost no one left to document the toll and thousands cannot account for all their dead because so many bodies remain under rubble. Among the hardest hit are the Mughrabi family: more than 70 were killed in a single Israeli airstrike in December. The Abu Najas: over 50 were killed in October strikes, including at least two pregnant women. The large Doghmush clan lost at least 44 members in a strike on a mosque and the total soared over 100 weeks later; by spring, over 80 members of the Abu al-Qumssan family had been killed.
  • The strikes analyzed by the AP mainly hit residential buildings, homes, and shelters where parents, children, grandparents were huddled together for safety. In no case was there an obvious military target or direct warning to those inside.
  • The Salem family has lost at least 270 members in all. At one point the Salems raised a white flag on their building, which was in the midst of a battle zone. They told the army they will not leave because they said nowhere was safe. Over 170 members of the family were killed in two bombings eight days apart. Three strikes over four weeks killed 30 al-Agha members; and a series of strikes in a refugee camp in December killed 106 people from at least four families. In one attack in the crowded Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, Israeli bombs erased an entire block of buildings. Nearly 40 members of the Abu al-Qumssan family were killed.
The deaths of so many Palestinian families will reverberate for generations. Kinship reaches far beyond the nuclear family in Gaza. Compounds, frequently multiple buildings of three stories or more, are occupied by an entire bloodline. Read more in-depth takes from the AP here and here. (More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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