A video showing satellite imagery of the Gaza Strip before and after an intensive campaign of air strikes by the Israeli Air Force has gone viral, showing the extent of the destruction caused to the densely populated Palestinian territory.
The side-by-side comparison had attracted about 101,000 views at the time of publication, after being posted on Sunday, revealing how many buildings have been reduced to rubble or damaged structurally. One aerial image appears to show the Ahmed Yassin mosque in Gaza City, which was hit on October 9.
The original poster, Muhammad Shehada, a self-described Gazan who works for advocacy group Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, described it as “televised, livestreamed carnage.” Euro-Med has accused Israel of war crimes and “systematic killings,” while attributing none of the civilian casualties to Hamas, which initially launched an assault on Israel and has urged against evacuating areas being targeted.
Newsweek approached the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) via email for comment on Monday.
Around 1,500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants staged armed assaults on Israel on October 7, including the killing of civilians and the taking of hostages. Since then, Israel has targeted militant sites in Gaza, which it says are often placed in civilian areas or buildings, and it has forewarned civilians in those areas ahead of air strikes.
The violence has so far taken the lives of more than 4,000 people, according to the latest death toll by the Associated Press. The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,670 Palestinians have been killed and 9,600 wounded, while over 1,400 Israelis were killed, and at least 155 others, including children, were taken hostage by militants, according to Israeli officials.
Aid organizations have warned of a worsening crisis in the region after Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza—which Hamas controls—including the cutting off of supplies and an intensive campaign of air strikes. Israel has indicated it was preparing a much larger offensive on the Palestinian exclave, which will likely increase the death toll significantly on both sides.
With units massing on the border with Gaza, on Saturday the IDF said it was “currently preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans” including coordinated strikes by air, sea and land.
Ahead of a widely anticipated ground offensive, Israel has asked around 1.1 million Palestinians living in the northern parts of Gaza to evacuate south—around half the population of the Palestinian exclave.
After initially giving those residents 24 hours to leave, and following an outcry from humanitarian organizations, it has highlighted routes from the north that it said it would not target with air strikes within given periods.
There were reports early on Monday morning that a cease-fire of a few hours had been agreed by Egypt, the U.S. and Israeli officials to coincide with the reopening of a border crossing between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. However the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, later denied this, stating: “There is no cease-fire.”