Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Analysis of satellite images reveals that the Israeli army's strikes against this Palestinian territory are more intense than the bombings in Syria, in Ukraine or even during the Second World War.

Israeli bombings in Gaza, the most destructive of the century, according to experts | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Israeli soldiers stand guard along the border with Gaza, where entire neighborhoods are destroyed in continued bombardments.


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To measure the extent of the devastation caused by the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, mapping experts are relying on the analysis of satellite images of the Palestinian enclave.

Technology, generally used as a tool to measure deforestation or even the damage caused by natural disasters, today makes it possible to use it as a tool to measure deforestation or the damage caused by natural disasters. assess the destruction caused by the strikes with great precision.

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Khan Younes in the south of the Gaza Strip under fire from Israeli artillery.< /p>

In addition to taking panoramic photos of rooftops and streets, satellites can direct radars so that they bounce off buildings and scatter, allowing operators to view not only rooftops, but also the sides of the structures. Computers can then compare this data to that collected before the bombs exploded.

Corey Scher of the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School and Jamon Van Den Hoek of Oregon State University are experts in damage mapping in wartime. They have studied the effects of aerial bombardments and artillery strikes in conflicts ranging from Syria to Yemen to Ukraine.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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They applied data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite to Gaza and found unprecedented levels of destruction compared to other #x27;other recent conflicts, Mr. Scher told CBC News.

We draw on nearly two decades of research primarily focused on mapping the impact of disasters, including earthquakes and floods, and we adapt these methods to war and conflict.

A quote from Corey Scher, City University of New York Graduate School

Since the Gaza war began on October 7, more than 21,672 people have died in Israeli strikes, according to the Hamas health ministry. In Israel, the attack carried out by the Palestinian movement on October 7 left around 1,140 dead, most of them civilians.

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Palestinians remove body of person killed in Israeli airstrike on car in Rafah.

Experts say The intensity of the bombings in Gaza is unprecedented.

It’s because of the speed at which this damage occurred […] All the other conflicts we talk about [Ukraine, Syria, Yemen] lasted several years. The war in Gaza has been going on for just over two months and the pace of the bombings – not just their scale, but also their pace – is unparalleled.

A quote from Jamon Van Den Hoek, of Oregon State University

The two researchers have worked extensively on Ukraine since Russia launched its offensive in February 2022.

The scale of the damage in Gaza and the pace and cadence [of the bombing] are comparable only to the hardest-hit cities in Ukraine, Scher said. But these are much smaller areas. Mariupol and Bakhmout are smaller in terms of area, and less dense.

According to the latest United Nations data, Israeli forces have killed approximately twice as many women and children in two months in Gaza as Russian forces have killed in Ukraine in almost two years.

When we compare with Ukraine, [the war in] Gaza stands out for its intensity and scope, Scher said.

According to Mr. Van Den Hoek, while the 2021 Israeli bombing of Gaza damaged several hundred buildings, by 2023 an equal or even greater number of newly damaged buildings are detected in each daily data update.

About a third, perhaps 40 percent, of all structures in Gaza show some degree of damage, and some have likely been destroyed. In the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City, we are seeing much higher rates of destruction, close to two-thirds, he said.

The Financial Times carried out a statistical analysis comparing the strikes on Gaza to the bombings carried out by allied forces against Germany during the World War II.

Three German cities were destroyed from the air during this war: Cologne, Hamburg, and Dresden. In Hamburg and Dresden, a mixture of high explosives and incendiary bombs created the famous firestorms that melted the streets.

The data analyzed by MM. Scher and Van Den Hoek show that as of December 5, the number of buildings damaged or destroyed in Gaza had already exceeded the destruction seen in Cologne and Dresden.

The Israeli army dropped around 1,000 bombs per day during the first week of their offensive and claims to have carried out more than 10,000 airstrikes on Gaza as of December 10. The number of planes involved or bombs dropped during each mission is not known, but Israel's main fighter jets are capable of carrying six tons of explosives each.

For comparison, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima is equivalent to 15,000 tons of high explosives.

The intensity of Israeli bombings has sparked criticism from its main allies, including Washington. On December 12, US President Joe Biden warned that Israel enjoyed worldwide sympathy after the bloody October 7 attack, but was beginning to lose that support due to indiscriminate bombing .

In an end-of-year interview with CBC News about ten days ago, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Israel's greatest friends, like Canada, Australia, and especially the United States, are increasingly concerned that Israel's short-term measures are jeopardizing its long-term security.

Contacted for comment on this research, the Israeli embassy did not respond to requests from CBC News.

In recent years, the United States has developed non-explosive munitions that can reduce collateral damage to almost zero, including the Hellfire R9X, which was used to kill Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul in August 2022.

The building in which he was located did not suffer major damage and the members of his family who accompanied him escaped unscathed.

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Palestinians evacuate a site hit by Israeli bombing in Rafah.

The Israeli army also acknowledges that it uses a new artificial intelligence technology called Gospel to identify targets at strike in the Gaza Strip.

Little is known about the data used by this artificial intelligence program or the parameters the Israeli military has set for it, but Israeli commentators have described a system that generates new targets to bomb at a pace several times higher than that of human decision-making.

According to the former chief of staff of Israeli forces, Avi Kochavi, Gospel is a machine that produces vast amounts of data more efficiently than any human, and translates it into attack targets.

The system thus relies on reports from intelligence services to generate probable addresses of alleged members of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. These addresses can then be added to the list of potential targets.

On October 31, Israeli forces used a nearly one-ton bomb in the overcrowded Jabaliya refugee camp to kill Hamas member Ibrahim Biari. The bomb, with a deadly fragmentation zone equivalent to about 60 football fields, left a large crater, killed more than 100 civilians and left hundreds more homeless.

To justify these attacks, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, spokesperson for the Israeli army, declared, in early December, on the program Power &amp ; Politicsfrom CBC: If we don't finish this mission, if we don't eliminate Hamas, they will come back and try to do worse than the attacks of October 7.

In just two months, Israeli bombings decimated 1% of Gaza's entire population. However, the number of Hamas members killed is not known.

With information from Evan Dyer, of CBC

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