GAZA STRIP - An official of the Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said more than 80 people were killed on Saturday in double Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp.
“At least 50 people” were killed in an Israeli strike at dawn on the UN-run Al-Fakhura school in the camp, which had been converted into a shelter for displaced Palestinians, the official told AFP.
Social media videos -- which AFP was not able to verify -- showed bodies covered in blood and dust on the floor of a building, where mattresses had been wedged under school tables.
A separate strike on another building in the camp on Saturday killed 32 people from the same family, 19 of them children, the health ministry official said. The ministry released a list of 32 members of the Abu Habal family it said had died. Jabalia is the biggest refugee camp in Gaza, where some 1.6 million have been displaced by more than six weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas. The Israeli army did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the two strikes.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) was also unable to offer an immediate reaction. At the start of November, the Hamas government said more than 200 people had been killed and hundreds more wounded in Israeli bombardments on the Jabalia camp over three consecutive days.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the October 7 attacks which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, in southern Israel and saw about 240 people taken hostage. The army’s relentless air and ground campaign has since killed 12,000 people, including 5,000 children, according to the Hamas government which has ruled Gaza since 2007.
Hundreds flee from hospital Hundreds of people fled on foot Saturday after the director of Gaza’s main hospital said Israel’s army ordered evacuation of the facility where more than 2,000 patients, medics and displaced people were trapped by the war between Israel and Hamas. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) say that in the last 24 hours troops have “conducted activities in the Zaytun and Jabalia areas, during which they encountered terrorists who intentionally operated from civilian areas and attacked the troops using anti-tank missiles and explosives”. It adds that its forces “eliminated” a number of Hamas operatives in the process, “and struck a large number of terrorist infrastructure”.
Columns of sick and injured -- some of them amputees -- displaced people, doctors and nurses, were seen making their way out of Al-Shifa hospital towards the seafront without ambulances as loud explosions were heard around the facility.
On the way, an AFP journalist saw at least 15 bodies, some in advanced stages of decomposition, along a road lined by badly damaged shops and overturned vehicles as Israeli drones buzzed overhead.
The Hamas-run health ministry said 120 wounded, along with an unspecified number of premature babies, were still at Shifa hospital that has become the focus of the seven-week war sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attacks on Israel. Israel has been pressing military operations inside the hospital, searching for the Hamas operations centre it says lies under the sprawling complex -- a charge Hamas denies.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in response to the October 7 attacks which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians in southern Israel, and saw about 240 people taken hostage.
The army’s relentless air and ground campaign has since killed 12,000 people, including 5,000 children, according to the Hamas government which has ruled Gaza since 2007. In Gaza City on Saturday morning, Israeli troops had ordered over loudspeakers the evacuation of Al-Shifa hospital “in the next hour”, an AFP journalist at the scene reported. They called the hospital’s director, Mohammed Abu Salmiya, telling him to ensure “the evacuation of patients, wounded, the displaced and medical staff, and that they should move on foot towards the seafront”, he said. Israel’s army denied ordering the evacuation, saying it had “acceded to the request of the director of the Shifa Hospital to enable additional Gazans who were in the hospital, and would like to evacuate, to do so”.
The United Nations estimated 2,300 patients, staff and displaced Palestinians were sheltering at Al-Shifa before Israeli troops entered the facility on Wednesday.
‘THEY ARE ALL DEAD’
Israel has told Palestinians to move from the north of Gaza for their safety, but deadly air strikes continue to hit central and southern areas of the narrow coastal territory.
“They said the south was safer, so we moved,” Azhar al-Rifi told AFP. Her family was caught in a strike at the Nuseirat refugee camp on Friday, killing seven of her relatives including her five-year-old nephew. The same blast caught up Nada Abu Hiya, aged eight -- her third bombing of the war. “There are bombings everywhere,” she said. “My grandmother is dead, my mother is dead, my grandfather is dead, my uncle is dead, they destroyed our house. Our neighbours’ house is also destroyed and they are all dead.”
Israel has imposed a siege on Gaza, allowing just a trickle of aid in from Egypt but barring most shipments of fuel over concerns Hamas could divert supplies for military purposes.
A first consignment of fuel entered Gaza after Israel’s war cabinet bowed to pressure from its ally the United States and agreed to allow two diesel tankers a day into the Palestinian territory. “We took that decision to prevent the spread of epidemics,” Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said.
A two-day blackout caused by fuel shortages ended after a first delivery arrived from Egypt late Friday, but UN officials continued to plead for a ceasefire, warning no part of Gaza is safe.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said 70 percent of residents have no access to clean water in south Gaza, where raw sewage has begun to flow on the streets.
UNRWA said Israel has agreed to allow in 60,000 litres (16,000 gallons) of fuel daily from Egypt starting Saturday, but warned it was little more than a third of what is needed to keep hospitals, water and sanitation facilities running. Humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told the UN General Assembly that fuel supplies to the agency so far were “a fraction of what is needed to meet the minimum of our humanitarian responsibilities”.