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Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip has claimed nearly 800 lives among Palestinians, including 190 children, since the most recent conflict between the two sides flared up more than two weeks ago — a tragic consequence owed in part to the enclave's densely populated neighborhoods.

About 1.8 million Palestinians live in an area of about 140 square miles, according to the United Nations. Hundreds of homes have already been destroyed in the air strikes.

"There is literally no safe place for civilians," Jens Laerke, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told reporters in Geneva this week, according to Reuters.

NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin climbed to the top of one of Gaza's tallest buildings to offer a glimpse of the region's tightly packed residential areas.

A so-called surgical strike by Israel's military targeting a structure believed to harbor Hamas operatives or weapons may have a destructive effect on neighboring family homes or buildings built close together. Even when they're not the target of an Israeli attack, structures may be rendered uninhabitable and strikes could prove deadly.

—Ayman Mohyeldin and Becky Bratu