A Gaza minister accused Israel of causing over $5 billion worth of damage in the Gaza Strip since its military launched a large offensive there on July 8, Palestinian media reported.
Mufeed al-Hasayneh, the minister of public works, said tens of thousands of homes had been completely or partially destroyed, and that infrastructure in the Strip had sustained severe damage as well, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported Monday.
“The three areas that have undergone the most intense destruction are Shejaiya, Beit Hanoun, and Abasan,” Hasayneh said.
“Ministry crews were astonished when they arrived at Shejaiya, where some 110,000 people live.
Sixty percent of the homes were completely destroyed, especially those in the eastern part of the neighborhood,” he added.
Israel has blamed Hamas for the destruction in Gaza, since it emplaced its rockets, rocket launchers, cross-border tunnel openings and other military infrastructure in homes, schools and mosques, and thus used Gazans as human shields.
The minister went on to assert that at least 70% of water wells in the hamas-run enclave had been destroyed or decommissioned. He added that 10 power lines in the Strip had been cut as well, effectively leaving thousands of Palestinians without any access to power. Israel says several power lines have been damaged by rockets fired by Hamas.
Hasayneh said the cost to repair the damages would amount to billions of dollars, Ma’an reported.
On Tuesday, an IDF spokesman said the army had completed its mission of destroying 32 of Hamas’s attack tunnels that cross over from the Strip into Israeli territory. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said that by 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the Israeli military was set to withdraw all of its ground troops from Gaza, as an Egyptian-backed, 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire came into effect.
The war in Gaza has claimed the lives of 64 Israeli soldiers, 11 of whom were killed by Hamas gunmen emerging from the tunnels dug under the Gaza-Israel border, and three civilians on the Israeli side. Over 3,000 rockets have been launched at Israeli cities and towns in the month-long conflict.
Health officials in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip say that some 1,800 Palestinians have been killed since the fighting began, most of them civilians and many of them children. Israel says some 900 of the dead in Gaza were combatants.