Isareli strike kills dozens in Gaza refugee camp

Israel acknowledged was paying a 'very heavy price' after 15 soldiers killed in two days

Israeli air strike kills dozens of Palestinians in Gaza refugee camp

Israeli air strike kills dozens of Palestinians in Gaza refugee camp
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An Israeli air strike that hit a refugee camp in central Gaza killed at least 70 people, the enclave's local authorities said announced on Monday.

The attack came as Israel’s leaders acknowledged their country was paying a “very heavy price” in Gaza after 15 of its soldiers were killed in combat with Hamas fighters and other militants over the weekend.

Israel’s offensive has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians and displaced almost all of Gaza's 2.3 million people. More than two-thirds of the Palestinians killed since October 7 have been women and children, according to the local Health Ministry.

This followed attacks by Hamas on Israeli settlements on October 7, in which more than 1,200 people were killed and 240 abducted, again mostly civilians.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said that "at least 70 people were killed in the Maghazi refugee camp massacre", adding that the Israeli strike on Sunday night hit "a residential block".

Israel’s army said it was looking into the report.

Camp resident Abed Al Raheem Ziadaa told The National that his wife and 11 relatives were killed in the strike, including seven children, while at least another eight were buried under rubble.

"We were staying in our home safely when suddenly a number of Israeli rockets hit us,” Mr Ziadaa said.

“There are around 10 houses destroyed. It is a massacre. We can’t recognise people because most of the bodies are torn apart."

According to Mr Ziadaa, there were about 100 people who fled northern Gaza staying in his building, most of them members of the Al Yazji family.

He said he was rescued from under the rubble by emergency responders and neighbours and was injured in his left arm and back.

“There is no a safe place in the Gaza Strip; my home is completely destroyed."

Earlier, Mr Al Qudra said a number of buildings were damaged in the camp, which is east of the town of Deir Al Balah.

The Palestine Red Crescent said on X that its teams "transported a large number of martyrs and wounded following the targeting of a residential square in the Maghazi refugee camp".

Videos of the destruction and rescue efforts were also posted on social media.

The Red Crescent said intense Israeli strikes "led to the closure of roads between the camps of Bureij, Maghazi and Nuseirat, hindering the work of ambulance and rescue teams".

Israeli warplanes carried out more than 50 raids in Nusseirat, Bureij, and Maghazi camps on Sunday and early Monday, the Hamas government media office said.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital in Deir Al Balah received a large number of casualties with “injured people were placed on the ground, in the corridors, and in the tents”, its director, Dr Iyad Abu Zaher, said.

At least 20 people were killed in air raids on Sunday night in Khan Younis, with others missing under rubble, raising the overnight death toll from Israeli strikes in central and southern Gaza to more than 100, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said,

Despite mounting pressure for a humanitarian ceasefire, Israel's army has continued to carry out deadly air strikes amid reports of fierce fighting between soldiers and militants across the Strip.

For Israeli leaders, there are some concerns that the mounting death toll among its troops – 154 since the ground offensive began – could erode public support for the war.

“The war exacts a very heavy price from us, but we have no choice but to continue fighting,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

In a nationally televised speech, Israeli President Isaac Herzog appealed for the country to remain united. “This moment is a test. We will not break nor blink,” he said.

A Palestinian official in Gaza who spoke on condition of anonymity said on Monday that "every day in which the occupation soldiers are killed, is a black day for Israel".

"The days grow darker as the resistance mounts and the disappointment grows. The Israeli army, which is accustomed to the principle of zero casualties, finds itself drowning not only in casualties, but also in deaths."

He added that "the scorched earth policy did not help, nor bulldozers and tanks and armoured vehicles. Those are becoming walking coffins."

Updated: December 25, 2023, 1:13 PM