Work on World Vision projects temporarily

A day after Israeli forces evacuated the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, 19 Palestinians were killed on Wednesday, November 8, when a dozen Israeli artillery shells slammed into a neighbourhood.

Seven children and four women were among the dead; more than 30 people were wounded.

According to Doctors for Human Rights, 63 percent of the Palestinian casualties in the past few months were civilian, one third of them children.

The tragic incident took place a day after Israeli forces withdrew from the town of and redeployed on its outskirts.

World Vision Gaza Office Manager Yasser Toshtash says that all activities related to the two projects in the area have been suspended following the intense fighting.

“It is extremely dangerous in that area. There is widespread damage to infrastructure and dozens of private homes, but it is too early to know whether World Vision projects have been damaged in the area,” said Mr Toshtash.

He added that there is an acute shortage of water, food and medicines in the town.

Following the dire humanitarian need in the town, World Vision will distribute 1450 food packages to families in need. Each package will contain about 60 kilograms (132 pounds) of locally produced agricultural products including eggs, cheese and fresh vegetables.

World Vision has previously distributed medical supplies to a private hospital in the town that is home to 33,000.

In one of the incidents in the town, an Israeli aircraft fired a missile that hit a group of schoolchildren. As a result, a 16-year-old teenager was killed and a teacher was seriously wounded.

The Israeli military says that it has mounted the operation to stop Palestinian militants from firing home made rockets at neighbouring Israeli towns. Nevertheless, around 25 rockets were fired during the incursion injuring a number of Israelis.

The operation in northern Gaza has attracted international criticism. The European Union issued a statement deploring “the growing number of civilian casualties the Israeli military operation has caused”.