Dozens dead after Israeli attack on refugee camp

Dozens dead after Israeli attack on refugee camp
Photo from the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip from October 2023
Image: Mohammed Faiq / AFP
Border fence on the Gaza Strip
Image: Yuri CORTEZ / AFP

Numerous others were injured as a result. Many women and children were among the victims, it was said. The report could not be independently verified at this time. An Israeli military spokesman said it was checking whether the army was deployed in the area at the time.

A journalist from Turkey’s Anadolu news agency told AFP that his house partially collapsed when an airstrike hit his neighbors’ house in Al-Maghazi refugee camp. Two of his children were killed. Israel accuses Hamas of using refugee camps as well as UN schools and hospitals as hiding places and weapons depots. Hamas denies this.

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Meanwhile, Hamas suspended the evacuation of foreigners and people with dual citizenship from the Gaza Strip to Egypt. The reason is Israel’s refusal to allow injured Palestinians to be taken to Egyptian hospitals, a representative of the border crossing administration told the AFP news agency. “No foreign passport holder will be allowed to leave the Gaza Strip until the injured who need to be evacuated from hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip can be transported to the Rafah crossing,” said the official, who declined to be named. According to US information, Hamas tried to smuggle its own fighters out of the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing, which was temporarily open.

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Border fence on the Gaza Strip
Image: Yuri CORTEZ / AFP

In total, hundreds of people had left the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing since Wednesday. Egypt announced on Thursday it would help evacuate “approximately 7,000” foreigners and people with dual citizenship from the Palestinian territory.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Gallant announced that he wanted to track down and kill Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in the Gaza Strip. Sinwar is considered one of the masterminds of the major attack on Israel on October 7th. The 61-year-old has been the political leader of Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip, since 2017.

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According to security sources, Sinwar and Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif are hiding in the tunnel system in the Gaza Strip. Around four weeks ago, their fighters brutally murdered around 1,400 people in Israel and kidnapped more than 240 others. The subsequent Israeli attacks in the densely populated Palestinian territory killed more than 9,400 people, according to Hamas figures that cannot be independently verified.

Gallant also spoke of “heavy fighting” in the Gaza Strip and said troops had entered residential areas. Israeli Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi visited troops in the Gaza Strip for the first time since the start of the war.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wanted to continue his trip to the region with a visit to Turkey on Sunday. The US State Department said that, among other things, discussions were planned there about possible paths to a “durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East”, which would include “the establishment of a Palestinian state”. Ankara announced on Saturday that it was recalling its ambassador to Israel for “consultations.”

At a meeting with his colleagues from Arab countries in Jordan on Saturday, Blinken repeated his call for “humanitarian breaks.” These are intended to help protect civilians and bring more aid to the Gaza Strip. The USA and Israel are ruling out a permanent ceasefire because, in their view, this would enable Hamas, which rules there, to reorganize itself.

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