ICRC announces 22 deaths in shootings in Gaza, fighting in the north

ICRC announces 22 deaths in shootings in Gaza, fighting in the north
ICRC announces 22 deaths in shootings in Gaza, fighting in the north

Palestinian medical sources announced 24 deaths in Israeli airstrikes on Saturday in Gaza City. This the day after deadly shootings near an office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the south of the Palestinian territory.

As fighting between the Israeli army and the Islamist movement Hamas rages, at least 20 people were killed and several others injured in an air raid on a house in the Al-Tuffah neighborhood, the media said. AFP the spokesperson for the Gaza Civil Defense, Mahmoud Basal. Four others were killed in a strike in the Shati refugee camp, he said.

Doctor Mahmoud Aliwa, from Al-Ahli Hospital, confirmed that 24 bodies had been transferred to the facility.

The day before, ‘large caliber’ shots caused ‘a massive influx of victims towards the Red Cross field hospital’, near his office, which ‘received 22 dead and 45 wounded’, indicated the ICRC, without specifying the origin of the shots.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, condemned the deadly shootings on Saturday and called for the opening of an ‘independent investigation’.

The Ministry of Health of the government of Gaza, a territory ruled by Hamas, accused Israel of having ‘targeted the tents of displaced civilians in Al-Mawasi’, reporting 25 dead and 50 injured.

The coastal area of ​​Al-Mawasi, near Rafah, is home to displaced people driven out by fighting in the rest of the Palestinian territory. It had been declared a ‘humanitarian zone’ by Israel, in theory safe for the displaced.

An Israeli army spokesperson told AFP that ‘an initial investigation suggests that there is no indication that a strike was carried out’ by the army in Al-Mawasi.

On Saturday, exchanges of fire broke out early in the morning between Palestinian fighters and Israeli forces in Gaza City, according to an AFP journalist. In the Zeitoun neighborhood, witnesses saw Israeli helicopters firing on Palestinian fighters.

‘No safe place’

Sitting on a concrete block, a Palestinian woman cries on Saturday in front of the body of a relative wrapped in a white tarpaulin, killed in these shots.

Men carry the body of another victim on a stretcher, with walls blackened by flames in the background. Smoke still escapes from the ashes in a patch of land reduced to a field of charred debris.

“Recently, army warplanes struck two Hamas military infrastructure sites in the Gaza City area,” the army said in a statement on Saturday.

According to witnesses, at least four residential buildings and neighboring houses were destroyed in the airstrikes, causing several casualties. These strikes took place in the Chati camp and the Daraj Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City.

Humanitarian disaster

The population of Gaza, deprived of everything, survives in extremely difficult conditions, surrounded by hermetically closed borders. International aid, essential to meet the immense needs of the population, is having difficulty arriving, deplores the World Health Organization (WHO).

A recently announced daily break by Israel on a southern route, presented as a way to facilitate the entry of aid through the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, had ‘no impact’, according to the WHO. Aid inflow ‘has been minimal’.

In the small territory where some 2.4 million Palestinians are crowded, ‘more than a million people are constantly on the move’ in the hope of finding a safe place when ‘no place is safe’, said Dr Thanos Gargavanis, head of emergencies at WHO.

‘We don’t see any help (…) Everything we eat comes from our own money and it’s very expensive,’ laments Om Mohammad Zamlat, 66, displaced in Khan Younes (south). ‘We hope this war will end and we will return home.’

Cross-border violence

While negotiations for a ceasefire are stalling, the war has caused an outbreak of violence on the Israeli-Lebanese border, where confrontations are almost daily. Exchanges of fire between the army and Hezbollah, a movement supported by Iran, have intensified recently.

In a televised address, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned on Wednesday that ‘no place’ in Israel would be spared from his movement’s missiles, after the Israeli army announced the validation of ‘operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon’.

On Friday, the Shiite movement claimed to have carried out attacks against border military targets. In Lebanon, media reported Israeli strikes and bombings against several locations in the south of the country.

Lebanon must not become ‘another Gaza’, argued UN boss Antonio Guterres, highlighting fears of a regional conflagration.

/ATS

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