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Israel-Hamas war: 23 years after this picture shocked the world, tragedy strikes Jamal Al-Durrah again

The article delves into the human toll of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, featuring Jamal Al-Durrah's tragic losses and the escalating tensions in the region.

Israel-Hamas war: 23 years after this picture shocked the world, tragedy strikes Jamal Al-Durrah again snt
First Published Oct 17, 2023, 9:58 PM IST

The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas has brought to light the heavy toll borne by civilians on both sides. The latest exchange of hostilities began when, in a surprise attack on October 7, Hamas fired thousands of rockets, met with relentless Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. The situation has escalated to the point where Israel is now preparing for a full-scale ground assault.

Jamal Al-Durrah, who became a symbol of the second Intifada (Palestinian uprising) against Israeli occupation in 2000, is now mourning the loss of four family members due to Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. The tragic incident claimed the lives of his two brothers, sister-in-law, and niece, adding to the grim tally of over 2,500 deaths in Gaza.

It's worth noting that Jamal Al-Durrah had already suffered a devastating loss 23 years ago during the second Intifada. In 2000, he lost his 11-year-old son, Mohammed al-Durrah, in a crossfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters. The haunting image of Mohammad hiding behind his father, waving in desperation for the violence to stop, was captured by a journalist working for France 2. Tragically, Mohammad lost his life in his father's arms, symbolizing the brutality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The second Palestinian uprising, which concluded in 2005, resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 Israelis and more than 3,000 Palestinians.

After two decades since the loss of Mohammad, Jamal Al-Durrah finds himself mourning the deaths of family members. He reflects on the enduring impact of his son's tragic death, stating, "The iconic killing of the Palestinian child Mohammed al-Durrah by Israel, his blood still flows in the Gaza Strip."

Jamal Al-Durrah, who now stands beside the lifeless bodies of victims at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Mosque in Gaza, mourns the loss of his family and neighbors. He condemns the deliberate targeting of civilians, particularly children, and laments the recurring scenes of violence and suffering. His anguish is compounded by the belief that Israel is using Western weapons to kill civilians, rather than military objectives.

As Israel prepares for an all-out ground assault on Gaza, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's pledge to eradicate Hamas, the situation continues to escalate. Israel has urged civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate southward, alleging that Hamas is using them as human shields. The conflict has also spilled beyond Gaza, with overnight airstrikes on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon. Tensions are rising, raising concerns of further escalation, especially given Hezbollah's alignment with Hamas as a pro-Iran Lebanese group.

As the conflict intensifies between Israel and Hamas, and with fears of a deepening humanitarian crisis, US President Joe Biden's planned visit to Israel on Wednesday takes on added significance. The international community watches with growing concern as the violence exacts a heavy toll on civilians and threatens to plunge the region into further instability.

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