As The Israel Defence Forces’ ground offensive entered its second day, the estimated number of dead in Gaza has risen to 316. With the number of people to die as a result of conflict in Gaza now topping 300, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon is set to travel to the region today in a bid to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas. The conflict is reaching a desperate state and the number of dead is set to rise. Human and animal life is being taken.
Animals have always been used in warfare and it is no surprise that animals are being used in the latest wave in the Gaza conflict. Last night Hamas militants used a donkey as weaponry. The donkey, loaded with explosives, approached troops in the Rafah area and unfortunately, the animal was shot at – blowing the explosives – and killed. The Israeli army had received prior intelligence citing that animals would be used to carry out attacks.
“A donkey suspiciously began to approach forces. The forces approached the donkey and it exploded at a safe distance, whereas no injuries were sustained by the IDF as a result,” a press release stated.
In the second Palestinian intifada between 2000-2005, it was reported that several attempted donkey-assisted attacks were carried out in the West Bank and Gaza. In 2009 militants approached the Karni crossing between Gaza and Israel with horses carrying mines and explosives. In January 2003, a donkey strapped with explosives was left on a road between Jerusalem and a settlement, Gush Etzion, in the West Bank. The bomb was detonated, leaving no human casualities. PETA called Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader at the time to stop animals being used in the conflict. The call was widely disregarded as it seemed an insult to the loss of human life.
It is sad that, once again, animals are being used in attacks. Does this show how desperate the people in the conflict are getting? Innocent lives are being lost, from children, civilians and now animals. There is no doubt that the loss of human life is irrecoverable and deeply tragic. The conflict is messy, complicated and it seems it will not end any time soon.
Update – As of last night, the death toll stands at 395, mostly innocent civilians.