GAZA – Israeli air strikes targeted Jabalia, Gaza’s largest refugee camp, for the second time in two days on Wednesday. As rescue workers clawed through the rubble and footage showed smoke billowing above the camp, there was no immediate confirmation on the number of casualties.
In Tuesday’s attack, the Hamas-run health ministry said that more than 50 people were killed. Israel claimed to have killed a Hamas commander in that strike.
The densely populated camp in the north of the besieged enclave covers an area of 1.4 square kilometres (0.5 sq miles). According to the United Nations, there are some 116,000 registered refugees in the camp.
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths denounced the Jabalia strike after a two-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
“This is just the latest atrocity to befall the people of Gaza where the fighting has entered an even more terrifying phase, with increasingly dreadful humanitarian consequences,” Griffiths said in a statement.
He said “the world seems unable, or unwilling, to act”, adding “This cannot go on. We need a step change.”
Griffiths said: “We need the warring parties to agree to pauses in the fighting” so that desperately needed aid can get into the Palestinian territory of 2.3 million people.
Israel’s military later issued a statement saying the country’s fighter jets had struck a Hamas command-and-control complex in Jabalia “based on precise intelligence”, killing the head of the Islamist group’s anti-tank missile unit, Muhammad A’sar.
“Hamas deliberately builds its terror infrastructure under, around and within civilian buildings, intentionally endangering Gazan civilians,” the statement said.
At least 8,796 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7. More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel.
Anadolu Agency reported that casualties from Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip have risen to 1,000, according to the Health Ministry.
Early Thursday, ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qedra said on Facebook that there were “1,000 killed, injured, and missing in the massacres in Jabalia,” located in the northern Gaza Strip.
Gaza’s Interior Ministry said on Tuesday that an Israeli airstrike resulted in “400 casualties, including killed and injured, and the complete destruction of a residential neighborhood in the Jabalia camp.”
On Wednesday evening, Israeli fighter jets carried out another raid on the camp, causing extensive damage to dozens of homes.
This week the Israeli army has expanded its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless airstrikes since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.
More than 10,300 people have since been killed in the conflict, including at least 8,796 Palestinians and more than 1,538 Israelis.
Besides the large number of casualties and displacement, basic supplies are running low for the 2.3 million residents in Gaza due to the Israeli siege.