More than 200 Palestinians killed in Israeli air attacks on central Gaza

President Abbas calls for an emergency Security Council session on 'the bloody massacre' at Nuseirat as Israel says it has rescued four hostages

Palestinians in Nuseirat refugee camp after Israeli airstrikes. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest news on Israel-Gaza

More than 200 Palestinians, many of them women and children, were killed in Israeli attacks in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, Gaza's Health Ministry said.

Israel bombed Nuseirat refugee camp, the area around Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al Balah, Al Moghazi Camp, Al Zawayda and Buriej camp, Wafa said.

The toll rose to at least 210 killed with more than 400 injured in the attacks on Nuseirat, the Hamas-run government media office said in a statement.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for an emergency UN Security Council session on “the bloody massacre that was carried out by the Israeli forces” at Nuseirat refugee camp, official news agency Wafa reported on Saturday.

Medical sources said that Al Aqsa Hospital, the only working hospital in the central governorate, has been struggling to deal with the high numbers of dead and injured.

The Israeli military said earlier on Saturday that it intended to destroy militant infrastructure in the Nuseirat area.

Later, the Israeli army, police and security forces said in a statement that four Israeli hostages were rescued alive from two separate locations.

Israel's operation in Nuseirat camp is the largest since the war began in October 7, bringing the total number of hostages rescued to seven.

Israel's chief military spokesman said hundreds of troops took part.

The operation was weeks in the planning and one police officer was badly hurt, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised news conference. Israeli police later announced that the officer had died in hospital.

Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said in response to the offensive in the Nuseirat area that Israel cannot force its choices on Hamas and the group will accept no deal that does not achieve security for Palestinians.

The government media office in Gaza said earlier that “dozens of martyrs and injured bodies are lying on the ground, in the streets, and inside safe homes” in Nuseirat.

“Ambulances and civil defence vehicles cannot reach the site due to the intense bombing and the continuing aggression by the occupation,” the media office said.

Witnesses said that a large number of dead and injured people arrived at Al Aqsa hospital as Israeli air and artillery bombardment went on.

Elsewhere in the strip, Wafa news agency quoted medical sources as saying that the bodies of five people, including women and children, were recovered after a house in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza city was attacked. It said that 14 others were wounded.

Israeli warplanes also struck areas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. Earlier, Wafa reported that a civilian was killed in an Israeli air raid against homes north of the city.

Israeli artillery also hit Al Zeitoun and Al Sabra districts in Gaza city. Wafa reported late on Friday that an Israeli air strike hit a house in Al Zeitoun, killing four civilians and injuring 10 others.

On Friday, an Israeli air strike hit a UN-run school compound in northern Gaza, killing three people according to Palestinian emergency officials, a day after a similar strike on a school in Gaza's centre killed at least 33.

In both air strikes, the Israeli army claimed Hamas militants were operating from within the schools.

Israel on Friday released the names of 17 militants it said were killed in Thursday’s strike. However, only nine of those names matched with records of the dead from the hospital mortuary.

One of the alleged militants was an eight-year-old boy, according to records.

International pressure is mounting on Israel to limit civilian bloodshed in its war in Gaza, which completed its eighth month on Friday.

Seeking a breakthrough in the apparently stalled ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return to the Middle East next week.

Israel and Hamas are both set to be listed as breaking the rights and protection of children in armed conflict, in an annual report to the UN's Security Council.

Israel criticised the move after being informed about the designation on Friday.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 36,800 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. More than 15,000 children have been killed.

Palestinians are facing widespread hunger because the war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies. UN agencies said more than one million people in Gaza face the highest level of starvation by mid-July.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’s October 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people – mostly civilians – and abducted about 240.

About 80 hostages captured on October 7 are believed to still be alive in Gaza, with the militant group holding the remains of another 43.

Updated: June 08, 2024, 10:11 PM