At least 45 Palestinians killed in Israeli strike on Gaza refugee camp

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A view of the rubble of buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza's Jabaliya camp [Hatem Moussa/AP Photo]

Gaza interior ministry says the number of dead may rise as rescue workers search through mounds of rubble for bodies.

Gaza’s interior ministry says an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in a refugee camp has killed at least 45 people and wounded dozens of others.

The Israeli military on Thursday bombarded the centre of the densely-populated Jabalia camp, ministry spokesperson Eyad Bozum said.

The building was packed with dozens of people who had fled heavy bombing from other parts of the Gaza Strip and taken refuge there.

Bozum said the death toll was likely to rise because civil defence workers were still pulling bodies from the rubble and counting the dead.

The Anadolu Agency said the victims included members from two families, identified as Shihab and Abu Hemdan.

“Medics transferred the bodies of 44 Palestinians to morgues after the Israeli attacks,” a source told Anadolu, adding that children and elders were among those killed.

Israeli forces on Saturday launched a sustained military campaign against the Gaza Strip in response to an attack by the Palestinian group Hamas inside the Israeli territory. At least 100 people were also taken hostage by Hamas during its assault.

Hamas said the unprecedented attack was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against the Palestinians.

Gaza’s health ministry on Thursday said 1,537 Palestinians, including 500 children and 276 women, have been killed and 6,612 others wounded in Israeli air strikes on the blockaded enclave.

Israel has imposed a total siege on Gaza, cutting the enclave’s water and electricity supplies and further worsening the living conditions in an area that has effectively been an open-air prison since 2007.

Israel’s Energy Minister Israel Katz on Thursday said electricity, water and fuel will not be provided to Gaza until all its hostages are freed. The Israeli siege is considered a war crime under international law.

Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum, reporting from Gaza, on Thursday said another night of Israeli bombardment has started in the besieged territory.

“Different areas of the Gaza Strip were bombarded by the Israeli air forces, specifically in the al-Saftawi neighbourhood where a residential building was levelled to the ground without prior warning,” he said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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