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Analysis reveals over half of Gaza’s buildings damaged, destroyed amid escalating conflict


Analysis reveals over half of Gaza’s buildings damaged, destroyed amid escalating conflict

New analysis, obtained by the BBC, exposes the severe impact of Israel’s retaliation for the October 7 Hamas attacks, with more than 50% and up to 61% of Gaza’s buildings damaged or destroyed.

Detailed before-and-after imagery also shows how the bombardment of southern and central Gaza has intensified since the start of December, with the city of Khan Younis bearing much of the brunt of Israel’s military action.

Israel has repeatedly told Gazans to move south for their own safety.

Across Gaza, residential areas have been left ruined, previously busy shopping streets reduced to rubble, universities destroyed and farmlands churned up, with tent cities springing up on the southern border to house many thousands of people left homeless.

About 1.7 million people – more than 80% of Gaza’s population – are displaced, with nearly half crammed in the far southern end of the strip, according to the United Nations.

READ ALSO: Gaza death toll surpasses 25,000 as Israel intensifies offensive against Hamas

Further analysis, by BBC Verify, reveals the scale of destruction of farmland, identifying multiple areas of extensive damage.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said it is targeting both Hamas fighters and “terror infrastructure”, when challenged over the scale of damage.

Now, satellite data analysis obtained by the BBC shows the true extent of the destruction. The analysis suggests between 144,000 and 175,000 buildings across the whole Gaza Strip have been damaged or destroyed. That’s between 50% and 61% of Gaza’s buildings.

The analysis, carried out by Corey Scher of City University of New York and Jamon Van Den Hoek of Oregon State University, compares images to reveal sudden changes in the height or structure of buildings which indicate damage.

The southern city of Khan Younis has been particularly badly hit in recent weeks, with more than 38,000 (or more than 46%) of buildings now destroyed or damaged, according to the analysis. Over the past fortnight, more than 1,500 buildings have been destroyed or damaged there.

Al-Farra Tower – a 16-storey residential block in the centre of the city, the tallest building in the area – was flattened on 9 January as can be seen in before-and-after images of the city’s skyline. Much of the neighbourhood in which it sits has been levelled by Israeli attacks since late December.

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