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New Year’s Darkest Dawn in Gaza

New Year’s darkest dawn in Gaza: “We’re living like animals”

Folks around the world just welcomed the new year, but for those in Gaza, the situation seemed to darken with a new series of attacks in the wee hours of 2024. Israeli skies were streaked with smoke trails as dozens of rockets, fired by Hamas, painted a grim picture against the backdrop of fireworks and celebrations.

Conflict continues amidst celebrations

As reported by AFP correspondents on the ground, even before the clock struck midnight, sirens echoed all over Israel, signaling incoming rockets. The missile defense system was seen darting across the sky, intercepting rockets overhead while celebrations continued unabatedly below.

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Hamas’ military wing quickly claimed responsibility for the late-night barrage, confirming on social media that the rockets were “an answer to Israel’s massacres on civilians.” Israel’s army acknowledged the attack but withheld any immediate casualty figures.

“As soon as I start to dance, I feel guilty. The sadness and the longing come back,” 24-year-old Ran Stahl disclosed to AFP amidst the celebrations, reflecting on friends lost in a previous Hamas terror attack.

New Year, old troubles

The accounts from Gaza show a contrasting, dark situation. A night that should have been filled with hope for the new year instead brought flames and smoke. Reports suggest that a minimum of 24 people lost their lives to Israeli attacks on New Year’s Eve.

Since the total siege that Israel implemented at war’s onset, the inhabitants of Gaza find themselves in a severe shortage of food, fuel, water, and medicines. An estimate by the Hamas-run health authorities puts the death count in Gaza at a staggering number of 21,800. Nearly 85 percent of the area’s population has been forced to flee their homes in search of safety.

“We’ve been expelled five times during this war. We hope things will be better in 2024 and we can live just like all other people. Now, we live like animals,” says Gazan resident Bassam Hana, voicing a common sentiment among those afflicted.

International condemnation

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the “enormous human suffering” and the “collective punishment” of Palestinian civilians, underlining the deepening humanitarian crisis.

Living as we are in a world that’s growing more interconnected by the day, we can only hope that those in most need don’t fall off the global conscience. As for Gazans, their battle is not just for survival but for the chance to live a life of dignity – a chance to stop living like animals. And with the dawn of a new year, despite the darkness around, we may still hope for a year better than the one left behind.

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