Gaza: Hundreds if not thousands of unexploded ordnance could render parts of the Gaza Strip uninhabitable, while clearing them will take many years and cost tens of millions of dollars, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing Charles Birch, an explosives clearance expert for the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).
Entire neighborhoods were reportedly reduced to dust by Israeli bombing of the enclave. Even more of the territory could suffer the same fate because of the fighting resuming and airstrikes intensifying in southern Gaza, the newspaper reported.
The unexploded ordnance includes makeshift rockets created by Palestinian movement Hamas and high-tech munitions provided to Israel by the United States.
Birch said that “the contamination will be unbelievable, like something from World War II.”
Birch was cited as saying that finding and defusing one bomb in the Gaza Strip could require up to 30 contractors digging through the rubble for more than a month. Each bomb would cost up to $40,000 for UNMAS.
On October 7, Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip and breached the border.
Israel launched retaliatory strikes and ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, cutting off supplies of water, food, and fuel.
On October 27, Israel launched a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.
On November 24, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a temporary truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
The truce was extended several times and expired last Friday, after the Israeli military resumed fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, saying the group had violated the humanitarian pause.