Israel-Gaza violence: Powerful images show scale of destruction in Gaza Strip

The conflict in the region has escalated since the deaths of three Israeli and one Palestinian teenager

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The Independent Online

As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed the Israeli military to step-up its assault on the Gaza Strip, powerful images shot in the midst of the escalating conflict show Palestinian citizens attempt to cope with the scale of destruction.

Landscape images taken from afar show the thick plumes of black smoke rising following Israeli airstrikes aimed at halting Hamas’ cross-border rocket attacks. 

But photographers on the ground have captured the detail of the trail of devastation. One depicts children navigating the rubble where a house used to stand. Another shows Palestinians standing at the edge of a vast terracotta-coloured crater, where the pattern of a once intact home furnishing protrudes from between large clods of earth.

The photos are evidence of the heaviest fighting between Israel and Hamas since a truce ended an eight-day battle between the two sides in November 2012

Palestinians check a destroyed house a day after an Israeli strike late Tuesday, in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.



The violent conflict was re-ignited when three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank on 12 June –an incident which Israel blames on Hamas, although the allegations have not been proved.

A Palestinian boy plays in the rubble of a destroyed house the day after an Israeli strike in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

The situation deteriorated last week when the bodies of the three teenagers were discovered. This was followed by the abduction of Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem — who was later found burned to death in what Palestinians believe was a revenge attack. Six Jewish Israelis were arrested in the killing. 

The Israeli military said it struck about 200 Hamas targets on the second day of its offensive, which it says is needed to end incessant rocket attacks out of Gaza. Hamas responded by firing rocket salvos deep into Israeli territory. Israel has since mobilized thousands of forces along the Gaza border.

Video: People survey damage in Gaza after air strikes

On Wednesday, after Israel killed at least 15 people in airstrikes, the government signalled a ground invasion into the Hamas-run area could be fast approaching.

Additional reporting by AP