Injuries Indicate Growth in Hamas Firepower
More victims of Gaza rocket attacks arriving at hospital with serious injuries
The injuries from rocket attacks that Israeli hospital staff have been treating since the escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza indicate that the firepower of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is growing.
“Over the years what we’ve seen is an increase in the violence of the ordnance that’s been used, not only in traditional military weapons – which are anti-tank [missiles] – but also in the missiles that are being fired at residential areas,” Dr. Jonathan Rieck, director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Barzilai Medical Center, told The Media Line on Wednesday.
Barzilai hospital in southern Israel has treated more than 110 casualties since Monday as rockets and missiles continue to rain down on Israeli cities. Most of the injured are in mild condition, Rieck said. But there have also been several victims with serious injuries.
“What we’ve seen over the years is that [Hamas and PIJ] have more explosive power so that the injuries are going to be blast injuries, penetration fragment injuries, and injuries to limbs,” he said.
Barzilai Medical Center is located just a few miles from the Gaza border in Ashkelon, making it very busy in the latest round of violence between Israel and Gaza.
More than 1,600 rockets have been fired towards Israel from Gaza so far this week, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Seven Israelis have been killed in rocket barrages and hundreds more injured. In response, Israel has launched an ongoing military operation, dubbed “Guardian of the Walls,” and has not ruled out a ground invasion of Gaza.
In Gaza, more than 80 people have been killed in IDF air raids and hundreds of others injured, according to Palestinian media. The IDF has said that dozens of those killed in the Palestinian enclave were members of Hamas or the PIJ; the Gaza Health Ministry has meanwhile claimed that 43 percent of the casualties were women and children.
In the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon, an Indian foreign worker was killed by a Hamas rocket on Tuesday while she was on a video call with her husband. Soumya Santosh, who hailed from Kerala, had been working in Israel as a caregiver for a Holocaust survivor, who was also seriously wounded in the blast. Santosh was 32 years old and leaves behind a son, 9.
“She was very young,” Preasead, an Indian neighbor who knew Santosh, told The Media Line.
“We in the community are feeling very sad for her and for her family,” he added. “I hope the Israeli government will help with something.”
Speaking next to the heavily damaged house of the Holocaust survivor, who has not been named, Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam told reporters that the 89-year-old woman is in “serious condition.”
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday visited victims of rocket fire at Barzilai hospital.
He met with the family of the injured Holocaust survivor, who head of Barzilai Medical Center Prof. Yaniv Sherer described as “a lioness, fighting despite her wonderful age.”
Rivlin also visited the bedside of Shani Avigal, the mother of Ido Avigal, who was killed when a rocket penetrated the safe room that the two of them were in. Shani Avigal was seriously injured in the attack.
“The loss of Ido is inconceivable, dealing with it along with the unconscionable worry for the rest of the family is so difficult. If only we could make it easier for you,” Rivlin told Assaf Avigal, Ido’s father.
At the Intensive Care Unit beside of 6-year-old Noah, Ido’s cousin who also was seriously injured in the rocket attack, Rivlin said: “You will get stronger and grow up, my dear one.”
“The missiles and rockets don’t distinguish between Jews and Arabs, or religion,” Glam said. “We are all human beings and we have to do everything to stop this catastrophe.”