Palestinians ‘in mourning’ as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

Palestinians ‘in mourning’ as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha
Palestinians hold Eid al-Adha prayers by the ruins of ar-Rahma Mosque destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, June 16, 2024. Courtesy Photo [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

Gaza Strip, Palestine | By Michael Wandati | Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank observe a solemn Eid al-Adha amidst ongoing Israeli military assaults, which persist over eight months since the conflict began.

In the besieged Gaza enclave, where the death toll exceeds 37,000 Palestinians, residents congregated amidst the rubble of their neighborhoods to offer prayers on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military intensifies its attacks on western areas of Rafah as it pushes forward with its ground invasion of the southernmost city. Additionally, it targets areas across central Gaza with airstrikes.

“Those attacks have pushed people into further internal displacement; in the northern part of the Strip, people are not only struggling to deal with unpredictable falling bombs and attacks on their homes … but also the spread of dehydration and hunger,” said Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Deir el-Balah in central Gaza.

“This is happening on the first day of Eid, where we’re looking at hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinian families, many of them in mourning.”

Tareq Abu Azzoum, reporting from Deir el-Balah for Al Jazeera, noted that Palestinians in the area are striving to maintain a sense of hope amidst the challenging circumstances.

“Palestinians are trying to do their best, despite Israel’s ongoing aggression, to bring happiness to young children, as many of them will wake up today and celebrate Eid without their parents.”

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The Government Media Office in Gaza issued a statement late on Saturday, accusing Israel of obstructing the entry of sacrificial animals into the enclave through all crossings. This action prevents Palestinians from conducting sacrificial rituals as part of Eid al-Adha.

On Sunday, the Israeli army announced a “local, tactical pause” of military operations along a specific route from 8 am to 7 pm daily until further notice. The pause is purportedly aimed at facilitating the entry of more aid into Gaza through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing.

However, the Israeli military underscored that its soldiers would maintain operations in the southern part of the enclave, emphasizing that there would be “no cessation of hostilities.”