Gaza war: refugee camp reported hit amid Israeli air strikes

Gaza refugee camp reported hit amid Israeli air strikes
Gaza refugee camp reported hit amid Israeli air strikes

Israel forces have bombed wide areas of the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding dozens of Palestinians, as civilians in the besieged territory sought shelter in an ever-shrinking area of the south.

The Jabalia refugee camp in the north of the Hamas-ruled enclave was among the sites hit.

A Gazan health ministry representative said several people were killed and dozens wounded by an Israeli air strike.

Al-Jazeera television broadcast footage it said showed the aftermath of the strike.

People, including a child, were covered in grey dust as smoke rose from piles of rubble and huge chunks of cement from collapsed buildings.

Bombardments from war planes and artillery also concentrated on Khan Younis and Rafah cities in Gaza’s south, residents said, and hospitals were struggling to cope with the flow of wounded.

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the reported actions.

The renewed warfare followed the end on Friday of a seven-day pause in the fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants to allow an exchange of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

It took place despite growing calls from the United States – Israel’s closest ally – for Israel to avoid further harm to Palestinian civilians.

More than 15,200 have been killed as of Saturday, according to Gaza’s health ministry, in nearly two months of warfare that broke out after a Hamas cross-border raid on southern Israel on October 7 in which 1200 Israelis were killed and more than 200 taken hostage.

Israel says it is acting to annihilate Hamas, saying it poses a mortal threat to the Jewish state’s very existence.

The retaliatory Hamas attack on October 7 and the ensuing war amount to the bloodiest episode in the decades-old wider Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Gaza residents said on Sunday they feared an Israeli ground offensive on the southern areas was imminent.

Tanks had cut off the road between Khan Younis and Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, effectively dividing the Gaza Strip into three areas, they said.

The Israeli military ordered Palestinians to leave six areas in and around Khan Younis.

It posted a map highlighting shelters they should go to west of Khan Younis and south towards Rafah, on the border with Egypt.

But residents said that areas they had been told to go to were themselves coming under attack.

Israeli tanks shelled the eastern sector of Rafah on Sunday morning, residents said.

There was hardly any space for more displaced people in the south after hundreds of thousands had fled the Israeli ground invasion in the north of the enclave, the residents said.

“Before, we used to ask ourselves whether we will die or not on this war but in the past two days since Friday, we fear it is just a matter of time,” said Maher, a 37-year-old father of three, who spoke to Reuters by telephone.

“I am a resident of Gaza City, then we moved to Al-Karara in southern Gaza Strip and yesterday we fled to deeper shelter in Khan Younis and today we are trying to flee under the bombardment to Rafah,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel was co-ordinating with international organisations to define “safe areas” for Gaza civilians.

The Israeli military said on Sunday its war planes and helicopters had struck Hamas targets including tunnel shafts, command centres and weapons storage facilities.

Naval forces had hit Hamas vessels on the coast, it said.

Palestinian health officials said air strikes destroyed several houses in the Al-Karara town near Khan Younis overnight, killing several people including children.

Hamas said it targeted the coastal Israeli city of Tel Aviv with a rocket barrage.

There were no reports of damage but paramedics said one man was treated for a shrapnel injury in central Israel.


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