Oct 31, 2023 - World

Israeli strike on Gaza refugee camp kills dozens

A screen grab from a video shows Palestinians searching for survivors following an Israeli airstrike in the Jabalia refugee

A screen grab from a video shows Palestinians searching for survivors following an Israeli airstrike in the Jabalia refugee. Photo: Fadi Wael Alwhidi/DPA/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

An Israeli airstrike that hit Gaza's largest refugee camp Tuesday killed dozens of Palestinians, according to Palestinian health authorities in the Strip.

The big picture: The Israeli military confirmed that Israel carried out the strike on the Jabalia camp. It claimed the attack killed a senior Hamas commander and injured other members of the group. It also said the strike severely damaged Hamas' underground infrastructure.

  • Hamas denied the Israeli claim that one of its commanders was in the camp when the strike took place, according to Al Jazeera.

What happened: Images of the aftermath of the strike show widespread devastation in Jabalia, a densely populated camp, located just north of Gaza City.

  • The Gaza Health Ministry said hundreds of people who were killed or wounded in the attack had been taken to the Indonesia Hospital in northern Gaza.
  • "More than 50 people have been killed," Atef al-Kahlout, director of the Indonesian Hospital, told Al Jazeera.

What they're saying: "A short while ago, IDF fighter jets, acting on ISA intelligence, killed Ibrahim Biari, the Commander of Hamas' Central Jabaliya Battalion. Biari was one of the leaders responsible" for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, the IDF said in a statement.

  • Mohammad Ibrahim, who told CNN he witnessed the strike and its aftermath, said there "were seven to eight huge holes in the ground, full of killed people."
  • "It felt like the end of the world," he told the network.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a call with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, later Tuesday stressed the need to prioritize civilian safety in the military operations on Gaza, the Pentagon said.

Data: OpenStreetMap, WorldPop; Map: Will Chase/Axios

The big picture: Israel has stepped up its aerial bombardment of Gaza since launching an expanded ground offensive last week as part of its operation that Israeli officials say is aimed at "destroying" Hamas following the Oct. 7 attack.

  • More than 8,500 Palestinians have been killed since the latest fighting began, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.
  • At least 1,400 people were killed and more than 230 others were taken hostage in Hamas' attack on Israel more than three weeks ago, according to Israeli officials.
  • Israel early in the war ordered Palestinians in the northern part of Gaza to evacuate to the south. Many Palestinians heeded the order, but others stayed in the north, saying there was no place to go to escape the bombing, which has also continued in parts of the south.
  • The Strip, home to more than 2.2 million people, is about the size of Detroit.

Go deeper: "Survival feels uncertain," Palestinians in Gaza say`

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details from the Pentagon.

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