Jabalia, Northern Gaza – Reports of multiple casualties have emerged from the Jabalia refugee camp, located in the northern region of Gaza. According to BBC, at least 50 people have been killed in the devastating incident. The Hamas-run health ministry and the director of the nearby Indonesian hospital have confirmed this grim toll.
The explosion is believed to have been triggered by an Israeli air strike, as reported by the BBC. The camp, which is the largest among Gaza's eight refugee camps, has a dense population, covering an area of just 1.4 square kilometers. Jabalia has a significant Palestinian refugee population, with over 116,000 individuals registered by the UN as of July 2023. These refugees have been residing in the camp since the aftermath of the 1948 war.
The camp features 26 schools within 16 school buildings, a food distribution center, two health facilities, a library, and seven water wells. The camp, along with the Shati camp, is situated in an area that Israel has designated as an evacuation zone.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) recently announced that they have been targeting "hundreds" of Hamas objectives in the region. The IDF is concentrating its efforts on the northern Gaza area but continues to conduct operations across the entire Strip, according to Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesperson, as reported by CNN.
This tragedy occurs in the context of ongoing conflict in the region. On Monday, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a ceasefire, stating that "this is a time for war." Israel has been conducting air strikes in Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attacks, which resulted in the loss of 1,400 lives and the kidnapping of at least 239 people as hostages.
The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza has reported that more than 8,500 people have lost their lives in the retaliatory bombing by Israel since that time.
(With inputs from agencies)