| 1 March 2024, Friday |

Drones show how Israeli bombs turned Gaza into moonscape

Before and after Israel began attacking the Palestinian enclave, Reuters captured drone footage over Gaza that first shows a bustling metropolitan area with people going about their daily lives and children playing, then an unsettling moonscape of collapsed buildings and piles of wreckage that stretches for blocks at a time.

Before October 7, footage was shot of schools, churches, mosques, and the Barquq Islamic citadel, which dates back to the fourteenth century.

People are walking in the streets or driving along a tree-lined boulevard. One scene shows children going to school on a donkey cart. Another shows people having fun at a water park.

Gaza, which lies along the Mediterranean coast, has long been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade that has restricted Palestinians’ movement.

Ruled by the Hamas Islamist movement, it is one of the most densely populated places on earth and has suffered years of economic deprivation. Yet life went on.

Some of the footage showed the Beach refugee camp, an area of squat, tightly packed cinder block houses, with washing hanging outside. It is home to the families and descendants of refugees from the 1948 war around the creation of the state of Israel.

In another refugee camp, Nusseirat, children enjoy break-dancing in the street.

Drone footage of Nusseirat filmed after the start of the Israeli bombardments shows widespread destruction, with smoking craters and flattened buildings.

  • Reuters