Where is Gaza and who lives there? Map shows location of Palestinian territory

Gaza borders Israel and Egpyt. (AP/Getty)
Gaza borders Israel and Egypt. The map on the right shows built-up areas in red, roads in black lines and some of the bigger municipalities. (AP/Getty Images)

The conflict between Hamas and Israel has led to the intense bombing of Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on earth, with people from across the world calling for aid for the tiny strip of land.

On Saturday 7 October, Hamas gunmen launched a surprise attack on Israel, rampaging through towns, killing hundreds, and over 200 hostages back to the Gaza Strip.

In response, Israel has hammered Gaza with air strikes and razed entire districts in some of the worst blood-letting in the 75 years of conflict.

Thousands of lives have been lost as a result of the bombing with the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry putting the number of deaths above 7,000.

Many of the victims have been children, with almost half of Gaza's population under the age of 15.

Follow Yahoo's live coverage of the escalating situation here

Here, Yahoo News UK explains the make-up of the territory.

Where is Gaza?

The Gaza Strip, commonly known as Gaza, is located in the south-eastern Mediterranean.

It borders the sea to the north-west, Egypt to the south-west and is surrounded by Israel on all other sides.

It is not a part of Israel or Egypt; instead, it is one of two Palestinian territories.

The Gaza Strip within the wider Middle East. (Getty)
The Gaza Strip within the wider Middle East. (Getty Images)

The other territory is the West Bank, which borders Israel and Jordan.

A total of 138 of 193 United Nations member states recognise the two territories as part of the state of Palestine.

Palestine is not a UN member state but is a non-member observer state.

How big is it?

The Gaza Strip is small at around 356 km2, slightly smaller than the Isle of Wight off the south coast of the UK (380 km2).

It is 25 miles long and 7.5 miles wide at its widest point, giving it a land area of just 141 square miles.

However, it is one of the most densely populated places on the planet with a population of over two million. The Isle of Wight, by comparison, has a population of just over 141,000.

A general view of Gaza City. (Reuters)
A general view of Gaza City. (Reuters)

If it was considered a country, the Gaza Strip would be the third most densely populated state on the planet, behind only Monaco and Singapore.

Who lives there?

Of the 2.2 million people living in Gaza, 99% are Sunni Arabs, with a tiny minority of Christians also living in the territory.

It has one of the highest fertility rates in the world and over 65% of the population are under 24, with more than 44% under the age of 15.

The median age is just 18, hugely below the UK's median of 41 and Israel's 29.

Gaza has been struck several times by Israel in recent days. (AP)
Gaza has been pummelled by Israeli airstrikes in recent days. (AP)

The most densely populated part of the Gaza Strip is Gaza City itself, which is situated in the north of the territory and has a population of around 750,000. The other man municipalities are Khan Yunis (240,000 people) and Rafah (200,000 people)

According to the UN, 1.7 million are registered as refugees and 1.3 million are in need, with unemployment at almost 50%.

It has a fairly even split of men (1.13 million) and women (1.1 million)

'Hell on earth'

Life in Gaza has been described as "hell on Earth" by the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

Despite numerous attempts over the decades to improve the quality of life there, the territory remains a difficult place to live.

In 2021, Guterres said: "If there is a hell on Earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza" as he tried to encourage a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Gaza is plagued by poor infrastructure that has seen little investment in recent decades and has been damaged repeatedly by Israeli strikes.

Over 44% of the population of the Gaza Strip are children. (Reuters)
Over 44% of the population of the Gaza Strip are children. (Reuters)

The biggest issue hindering the lives of people in Gaza is the blockade Israel and Egypt have maintained on the territory since Hamas came to power in 2006.

The blockade has seen walls and fencing erected around the entire strip, while the sea is constantly monitored.

The Gaza strip. (UN)
The Gaza strip. (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
How Israel and the Gaza Strip are separated. (UN)
How Israel and the Gaza Strip are separated. (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

Although food and medicine have often been allowed to pass into Gaza on humanitarian grounds, Israeli authorities strictly limit what other goods can enter, including building supplies.

On top of this, it is extremely difficult to enter or leave Gaza, with Israeli authorities only allowing someone to cross the border in the most serious of circumstances.

There are two entry and exit points to Gaza – Erez Crossing with Israel in the north and Rafah Crossing with Egypt in the south.