After a month of bombings, one-third of Gaza City is damaged

A month after the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, images of widespread destruction, craters, and damaged buildings have become commonplace.

Despite photos and videos, a comprehensive on-site assessment of the damaged property is currently impossible due to the ongoing conflict.

However, a new analysis of satellite images from the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 satellite allows researchers to, as they say, possibly get the most complete view of the extent of the damage in the Gaza Strip.

According to Israeli officials, on October 7, Hamas militants invaded Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing 1,400 people and taking more than 240 hostages.

In response, Israeli forces began nearly continuous airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of more than 10,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, and the displacement of nearly 1.5 million people, according to the United Nations.

According to an analysis by Corey Sher from the CUNY Graduate Center in New York and Jaron van den Hook from Oregon State University, approximately 27% to 35% of all buildings in the northern half of the territory were likely damaged since the start of the war. According to their estimates, across the Gaza Strip, 13% to 18% of all structures have been destroyed or damaged, which is between 38,000 and 51,500 buildings.

"It is steadily increasing," said Van Den Hook, a satellite imagery and remote sensing expert who has been studying these images since the start of the war. "Huge damage has been done to residential areas—cities, refugee camps."

The Gaza Strip is a narrow strip of land located between the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, and Israel. Its area is roughly equivalent to the size of Philadelphia, but it is home to half a million more people, many of whom are crowded into concrete high-rise buildings in tight-knit towns along the coast.

On October 13, Israeli military ordered all residents of the northern part of the Gaza Strip—over one million people—to evacuate to the south of the Wadi Gaza, a river that roughly divides the Gaza Strip into two parts. At the time, the United Nations stated that it would be "impossible" for such a large number of people in Gaza to move without "disastrous humanitarian consequences."

Airstrikes, however, intensified across the Gaza Strip, especially in the north, where Israeli forces encircled Gaza City. Israeli military claims to be fighting to destroy Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, to prevent further attacks on Israelis. Israel, the United States, and the European Union have long recognized Hamas as a terrorist organization.

On October 31, an Israeli airstrike hit the densely populated Jabalia refugee camp, north of Gaza City. Reports subsequently emerged of deadly strikes in Jabalia, the largest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Israel claimed that dozens of militants, including Hamas commanders, were killed in the attacks. The Gaza Ministry of Health reported that at least 195 people were killed.

It is unknown how many residents remain in the northern half of the Gaza Strip. According to the United Nations estimates, over 160,000 displaced individuals are taking refuge in 57 schools in northern Gaza, managed by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian relief. According to their estimates, another 117,000 displaced individuals are seeking shelter in hospitals in Gaza City and northern Gaza. On October 29, the World Health Organization stated that "the evacuation of hospitals would be impossible without the risk to patients' lives."

Israeli military denies targeting Gaza hospitals. However, according to witnesses and international aid groups, Israeli airstrikes on or near hospitals in the northern half of the Gaza Strip continue.

According to the World Health Organization, on Friday, Israel struck an ambulance convoy at Gaza's largest medical facility, Al-Shifa Hospital, resulting in the deaths of at least 13 people. Israeli military claimed to have struck an ambulance used by a Hamas terrorist cell. Israel alleged that Gaza militants used ambulances to transport fighters and weapons.

On Monday, two rockets landed near the gates of Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, injuring at least 21 people, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society.