Dozens killed in Israeli strikes on refugee camps in central Gaza

UN humanitarian chief voices frustration over difficulties in sending aid shipments to the enclave

Palestinians search the rubble after an air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza. Reuters
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At least 30 people were killed in Israeli air strikes on refugee camps in Gaza on Friday morning, attacks that followed overnight bombardment and intense fighting across the enclave.

Dozens of bodies were taken to Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al Balah after the attacks on the Nuseirat and Al Maghazi camps, medical sources told The National.

At least 20 deaths were recorded at Nuseirat, where more people remain buried under rubble, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Israeli warplanes on Thursday struck a home filled with civilians in the Shaboura camp, in the southern city of Rafah, killing at least 20, sources said.

Another 11 deaths were recorded following air strikes on the Fakhari district, east of the southern city of Khan Younis, Wafa reported.

Areas east of Khan Younis faced continuous Israeli air strikes and shelling, it said.

Child pulled alive from rubble after strike in southern Gaza

Child pulled alive from rubble after strike in southern Gaza

Israel has increased its attacks in central and southern Gaza amid its military offensive. The campaign began on October 7 after Hamas killed about 1,200 people and took more than 200 hostage in raids on southern Israel.

More than 21,600 people have been killed in Gaza so far, including about 9,000 children, health authorities said. The fighting has displaced most of the population of about 2.3 million, who now face shortages of food, water and other essentials, as well as a lack of proper medical care after Israeli attacks destroyed most of the enclave's hospitals.

UN humanitarian aid chief Martin Griffiths expressed frustration on Friday over the obstacles to providing life-saving assistance to the besieged strip.

“You think getting aid into Gaza is easy? Think again,” he said on X.

He referred to a long list of factors hindering a global aid effort, including Israeli inspections, damaged roads, poor communication and attacks on convoys and aid workers.

Thomas White, Gaza director for the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said on Thursday that soldiers fired at an aid convoy as it returned from northern Gaza along a route designated by the Israeli military.

“Our international convoy leader and his team were not injured but one vehicle sustained damage – aid workers should never be a target,” Mr White said on X.

With tens of thousands struggling to find shelter amid wintry conditions, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said it planned to establish a refugee camp in Khan Younis.

It said it was working with the Egyptian Red Crescent to set up the camp, which will initially include 300 tents.

Gazans who fled to Deir Al Balah after the latest Israeli attacks spoke of their frustration at the repeated displacement and deprivation.

"I am fleeing again now to Deir Al Balah, but there is nowhere to go," said Fayza Al Bahatini, who left her home in Gaza city to seek shelter at Nuseirat camp. "The children are hungry and we are living in unsustainable conditions.

"I had a beautiful house with a small garden and I used to drink my coffee next to my beautiful flowers."

Ms Al Bahatini has cancer and does not know how she will obtain medicine after pharmacies ran out of stock.

Umm Mohammed Abu Jabal said she hoped Deir Al Balah would be her last stop, after being forced to move three times because of the violence.

"After leaving Gaza city, my family stayed in an UNRWA school in Nuseirat camp. Yesterday, Israeli snipers were shooting towards the school windows, so we decided to flee," she told The National.

"We are going through a difficult time, trying to save our lives and wondering what we will experience next."

Updated: December 29, 2023, 9:32 AM