Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Updates on the war between Israel and Hamas: Air strikes hit Gaza City and reports of casualties


At least two Israeli air strikes rocked Gaza City on Saturday, sending rescue workers rushing to the scene amid devastation and unconfirmed reports of a large number of casualties.

Many details are still unclear, but the Israeli army said that its fighter planes targeted “Hamas’ military infrastructure” in two locations in the Gaza City area, without going into details. Rescue workers and residents in Gaza said there were many dead and wounded at the scene, and that at least one of the strikes was large enough to raise huge clouds of dust.

Mahmoud Basal, spokesman for the Palestinian Civil Defense, said more than 30 people were killed and 50 others wounded in separate raids on at least three residential neighborhoods in Gaza City – Al-Tuffah, Al-Shujaiya and Al-Shati – and there are believed to be other victims. To remain trapped under the rubble. It was not clear why the number was different from the number announced by the Israeli army.

The death toll could not be independently verified, and the authorities in Gaza do not distinguish between civilians and combatants when reporting casualty figures.

It was not clear what or who the Israeli air strikes targeted. Since the beginning of the war, Israel has sought to assassinate senior Hamas members in Gaza, including militant commanders and the Hamas leader in the Strip, Yahya Sinwar. While Israeli forces had some success in hunting down mid-level figures, Mr. Sinwar and most of the leadership succeeded in eluding them.

Hamas has exploited Gaza’s urban areas to provide its fighters and weapons infrastructure with an extra layer of protection, running tunnels under neighborhoods, launching rockets near civilian homes, and holding hostages in city centers. Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official He said The group is trying to keep Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way.

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Mr. Basal, who said he visited the scene, said the three attacks occurred at noon and targeted buildings in residential areas. He added that rescuers are trying to reach people under the rubble, “but our resources are limited.”

Muhammad Haddad, 25, who lives in the beach, heard “three or four loud explosions” before a cloud of gray dust fell on the neighborhood. Haddad said that when the dust settled, he ventured out toward the site of the strikes.

Haddad said that the bombing hit six or seven houses in the same residential building, destroying them. He said he saw nearly a dozen people killed and many others injured.

He said in a phone call: “On the way, I saw people scattered on the ground, some of them wounded and others killed.” “There were so many, I couldn’t count them.”

Human rights groups say the criteria Israel set for strikes during its campaign were too lax when it came to civilian casualties. One air strike in late October, targeting an armed Hamas commander in northern Gaza, killed dozens, including women and children.

In recent days, the Israeli military offensive has focused mostly on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces have operated for the past month and a half. Many Gazans who were sheltering there fled to the nearby Al-Mawasi area, a coastal area in the southern Gaza Strip, on orders from the Israeli military, which classified the area as a “safer area.”

On Friday, up to 25 people were killed and 50 others injured among tents housing displaced people in Al-Mawasi, according to relief agencies and health officials in Gaza. The Israeli military said its initial investigation showed “no indication” that a raid occurred within the “safest zone.” It did not mention whether it had struck other places in the region.

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Since the beginning of the war, Israeli military officials have said they would seek to target Palestinian militants wherever they operate, without ruling out strikes in areas they consider safer.

Rawan Sheikh Ahmed He contributed reporting from Haifa, Israel.



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