7 November 2006 – Israeli military forces withdrew from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun today, leaving behind significant damage to roads and houses, destroyed phone and electricity lines and shortage of food and water, the main United Nations refugee agency caring for Palestinians reported.
The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said Israeli forces were still present in other parts of Gaza.
Since last Friday, a joint humanitarian convoy of UNRWA and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been in Beit Hanoun delivering food, water, milk, blankets and mattresses to the hospital there. Additional convoys entered over the weekend and yesterday.
The UN World Food Programme (WPF) said it had provided 5,000 loaves of bread and 300 tins of canned meat for 300 displaced persons in a hospital in Gaza.
In a report yesterday before the Israeli withdrawal, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the Beit Hanoun fighting had killed some 50 Palestinians, half of them civilians and 8 of them children.
“We have seen an extraordinary number of children being killed just in the last five days,” UNICEF Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Dan Rohrmann said. “There are tanks everywhere, shelling, house demolitions and there is fighting in the streets. People are getting quite desperate. The children are terrified by everything going on, including seeing family members being taken away.”
Since the beginning of this year, over 100 children have died in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, more than twice the total killed in 2005.